| By USTA Eastern Section

USTA Eastern will honor 27 junior players on Aug. 27 at the at the Indoor Training Center of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for their outstanding performance in Sectional Tournaments and provide them with free grounds passes to see the best players in the world compete on Opening Day of the 2012 U.S. Open.

The juniors, in the 12 to 18 age divisions, will be honored at the Section’s Junior Awards Gala, an annual event recognizing those players who finished the best in Sectional Tournaments in the first half of the year. Among those being honored are Jamie Loeb, who won her first pro tournament this summer and received a wild card into the Main Draw of the Junior U.S. Open, and Louisa Chirico, who received a wild card into the Junior U.S. Open Qualifying Tournament.

In addition, many of the juniors being honored traveled across the country this summer to represent the Eastern Section in team competitions.

"These juniors are not just great individual competitors, but also outstanding team players," said Julie Bliss, director of competition and player development for USTA Eastern. "They recognize the importance of playing local tournaments and representing the section on Eastern teams in places like Michigan, North Carolina, and California."

This year, the Section is also recognizing 10 Eastern winners of the USTA NJTL Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. The winners were selected by a section committee of staff and volunteers, and wrote essays responding to the question: "If Arthur Ashe were alive today, what do you think would give him hope?"

Junior Award Gala Winners

Boys 12
1. Gary Fishkin (Staten Island, N.Y.)
2. Brian Shi (Jericho, N.Y.)
3. Daniel Pellerito (Syosset, N.Y.)

Girls 12
1. Dasha Kourkina (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
2. Aleksandra Bekirova (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

3. Hannah Zhao (Syosset, NY)

Boys 14
1. Sam Turchetta (Pound Ridge, N.Y.)
2. Matthew Gamble (Webster, N.Y.)
3. Alex Knaff (New York, N.Y.)

Girls 14
1. Stephanie Schrage (Millburn, N.J.)
2. Brianna Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
3. Courtney Provan (New Providence, NJ)

Boys 16 
1. Shawn Hadavi (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.)
2. Daniel Grunberger (Great Neck, N.Y.)
3. Kyle Mautner (Greenwich, Conn.)

Girls 16
1. Jacqueline Urbinati (Harrison, N.Y.)
2. Eva Siskova (Cornwall, N.Y.)
3. Madison Stevens (Mendham, N.J.)

Boys 18
1. Andrew Yaraghi (Mill Neck, N.Y.) & Josh Levine (Syosset, N.Y.)
2. Jonathan Carcione (Franklin Lakes, N.J.)
3. Vihar Shah (New Hyde Park, N.Y.)

Girls 18
1. Emily Safron (New York, N.Y.)
2. Louisa Chirico (Harrison, N.Y.) & Hannah Camhi (Woodbury, N.Y.)
3. Jamie Loeb (Ossining, N.Y.) & Lexi Borr (Westfield, N.J.)

USTA Eastern Arthur Ashe Essay Contest Winners
►Skyla Forrester, Girls, 10 and Under Bronx, N.Y. (New York Junior Tennis & Learning)

►Brandon Torres (National Winner), Boys, 10 and Under Bronx, N.Y. (Co-Op City Tennis Club)

►Asia Shedrick, Girls, 11-12 Queens, N.Y. (New York Junior Tennis & Learning)

►Zachary Arthur, Boys, 11-12 New York, N.Y. (Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program)

Taylor Jean-Jacques, Girls, 13-14 Greenwich, Conn. (Jerry Alleyne Memorial Foundation)

►Jonathan Agyeno, Boys, 13-14 Yonkers, N.Y. (Harlem Junior Tennis & Education Program)

Mindy Hugo, Girls, 15-16 Mount Vernon, N.Y. (Jerry Alleyne Memorial Foundation)

Jordan Drake-Griffiths, Boys, 15-16 Fayetteville, N.C.; formerly of Haverstraw, N.Y. (Reach for College)

Amina Dickson, Girls, 17-18 Maplewood, N.J. (Reach for College)

Christopher Charles, Boys, 17-18 Valley Stream, N.Y. (Long Island Junior Tennis League)