Special from the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, HRVarsity.com
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VIRGINIA BEACH – Samantha Martinelli usually enjoys clay-court tennis about as much as swimmers and surfers enjoy seeing a shark’s fin in the coastal Virginia water. But with smart preparation, the Denver Blue Chip recruit navigated her way through a draw of 192 to capture the title at the USTA Girls’ 16 National Clay Court Championships.  

Also, the second-seeded Martinelli received the sportsmanship award at Virginia Beach Tennis and Country Club, which has hosted this event since 1987.

Just before the awards presentation, “she asked me who had won it, and I told her I couldn’t tell her yet,” tournament director Laurie Hackbirth said. “It was a difficult decision because there were so many good sports on and off the court.”