Lynnfield resident Jennifer Riester has been selected by USTA New England as the Girls 14-and-Under Junior Sportsmanship Award winner for 2017. (COURTESY PHOTO)

Lynnfield’s Riester receives USTA sportsmanship honor

Lynnfield resident Jennifer Riester, 15, has been selected by United States Tennis Association (USTA) New England as the Girls 14-and-Under Junior Sportsmanship Award winner for 2017.  Riester is one of 31 USTA award winners who will be honored at the USTA New England Annual Awards Ceremony on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Courtyard Marriott in Marlborough, MA.

The Junior Sportsmanship Award is given annually to one boy and girl in each of four USTA age divisions who exemplifies sportsmanship qualities on and off the tennis court and is a positive role model to others.

"Our award winners exemplify the very best of tennis in New England," said Scott Steinberg, USTA New England president and CEO.  "Their remarkable efforts on and off the court have been instrumental in continuing to grow the game.  We are delighted to have this opportunity to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments."

The awards ceremony will feature guest emcee Harvey Leonard, chief meteorologist for WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston.

Since the age of nine, Riester has organized local drives to collect tennis racquets, tennis shoes, clothing and other tennis-related items and equipment to donate to Tennis Without Borders, a non-profit organization with the sole purpose of helping students in developing nations pursue life opportunities on and off the tennis court by providing equipment, instruction and academic support to clubs and schools.

She was inspired to get involved by her current instructor, Cinda Holbach of Maine, who has made several trips to Cameroon to distribute the donated items collected by Riester and others.  Riester estimates that she has collected and donated more than 1,000 racquets, pairs of shoes, clothing items and other tennis related items and articles of clothing.

Earlier this year, she and older brother Carlton, a junior at St. John's Prep, took her fundraising efforts to the next level and established a Tennis Without Borders eBay program selling tennis clothing and other items not suitable for use in African climates.  To date, they have raised more than $2,000 in sales proceeds, which will be donated to Tennis Without Borders.

Riester, who trains at the Manchester Athletic Club (MAC) Tennis Academy in Manchester, MA., is one of New England's top-ranked USTA junior players.  She is currently ranked fifth in the 16 division, despite missing much of the summer season with a stress fracture in her foot.  Last year, she was ranked as high as No. 3 in the 14 division.

Riester attended the Summer Street School and Lynnfield Middle School and presently is an  eighth-grader at TEC Connections Academy Commonwealth Virtual School (TECCA), a tuition-free public virtual school based in East Walpole.

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