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In an effort to boost both the overall numbers as well as the level of competition, the 99th edition of the Marion Brown York City-County Tennis Tournament was pushed back from its normal time window this summer.

Typically held in late June, the YCC draw was delayed in hopes of eliminating competition with the United State Tennis Association  league season, which runs from April to July.

For the most part, the change has been a big success according to YCC director Phil Myers.

“So far, I’m pretty pleased with the results,” Myers said. “We had quite a few adults that played multiple teams over the summer. Our tournament was at the end of June, so we had to compete with these leagues and their schedule as well as a pretty large tournament up in Reading that went on at pretty much the same time.”

Myers, who is the two-time defending champion in the men’s singles open division, expects the level of competition for the 11-division event, slated to begin Wednesday at Wisehaven Tennis Center, to be pretty fierce.

“We’ve ended up with a lot more women in the women’s singles draw than we ever have,” Myers said. “And we have three former women’s champions competing in the open women’s singles this year. Katie Wagner, who is a two-time champ, is back.”

Only three women took part in the 2018 draw, but this time Myers is excited to see a full eight-player bracket filled out.

Wagner, who won the title in 2015 and 2017, is the No. 1 seed. She will take on Madi Reed in the first round.

Dagney Markle, the defending champion, is the No. 2 seed.

The other former champ in the field, Katie Desai, comes in as the No. 7 seed. That means that Desai, who was Katie Lynn when she won her title back in 2016, will square off with Markle in the first-round. Those two met up in the semifinals back in 2017, with Markle earning a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 triumph.

“It looks like we have a lot of depth in this year’s draw,” Myers said. “It should be pretty competitive.”

The open men’s singles draw should be a good one as well. Myers, a three-time champ, is back to defend his crown as the No. 1 seed in the 22-man draw. Peter Landis, Nathan Gambino and Jason Philips are the second, third and fourth seeds, respectively.

Myers, a York High and York College graduate, is more than a bit disappointed that this year’s draw will miss a familiar face. Jim Kohr, a 17-time champion of the event, will  miss this year’s draw due to being a member of a team that qualified for the USTA playoffs.

“Unfortunately I think there was probably some scheduling issues with what I assume is his (USTA) team making playoffs down in the Mid-Atlantic section, and they have section playoffs this weekend,” Myers said. “So that’s a bummer, because we always look forward to him being there. And, as somebody who competes in the tournament myself, I always enjoy the challenge of competing against Jim in the draw.”

Myers knocked off Kohr, 7-5, 6-0 to capture last year’s tournament. That marked the first victory for Myers over Kohr, who won the previous two clashes in the YCC back in 2011 and 2016.

While Dallastown graduate Holden Koons, a four-time York-Adams League and District 3 3-A singles champion, will not be included in the field this time around, Myers is hopeful that the James Madison-bound standout will be able to participate when the tournament’s 100th edition takes place next summer.

That’s not to say that the Koons name will not be represented this year. Hayden Koons, who is Holden’s younger brother, is entered in the men’s intermediate draw.

After returning as an active competitor in tournament play by participating in this year’s Mixed-Doubles Charity Classic a few weeks ago, Jenni Goodling will once again hit the courts this week in the Mixed-Doubles draw. The 57 year-old former WTA doubles standout will be paired up with Myers as the top-seed in the five-team draw.

“Jenni is an outstanding tennis player,” Myers said. “She’s really been putting a lot of work in over the past year and I think she’s been doing a great job. I think she plans on sticking around and playing a lot of tennis.”

— Reach Ryan Vandersloot at sports@yorkdispatch.com.

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