Nice Guys Finish First

"Nice Guys Really do Finish First"!


Updates on a few former Junior National Champions. Find others on "Where are they now"? 


Mike Stulac (Canada) Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Works at JP Morgan, Financing Product Controller, 
Vice President


1989 Junior National Champion 18 & Under
2005, 2011 Men's National Champion
2008 Mixed National Champion
2008, 2011 & 2013 Husband/Wife National Champion



Paul and Mike Stulac






Dave Ohlmuller (NJ) Loyola

1988 Jr National Champion
1995, 2001, 2005 Men's National Champion
1990,1991,1995 Mixed National Champion
2003, 2005 Husband/Wife National Champion
Inducted in The APTA Hall Of Fame (20







Scott Estes (NJ) William and Mary
Employed by Health Care REIT, Inc.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer 

1986 Boy's 15's National Champion
1987 Boy's 18's National Champion
2007 Men's National Champion







Mike Gillespie (NJ) 

Platform Tennis Director, Indian Trail Club
1979 Boy's 18's National Champion
1980 Boy's 18's National Champion
1989 Mixed National Champion
2011 Men's 45's National Champion
2012, 2013, 2014 Men's 50's National Champion
Inducted into The APTA Hall of Fame (2016)








The Road to a Jr. Nationals Title-Brian Faig

An article written by Brian Faig after his win in The Jr Nationals a few years ago!
 

Brian Faig

My journey to winning the 2013 Junior Nationals started five years ago, in 2008. Both of my parents had been playing paddle competitively for a long time. I was 14, a tennis player who wasn’t playing basketball anymore and was facing a long winter. I was lucky enough to get my first instruction from Patty Hogan, national champion, amazing teacher and someone really committed to Junior Paddle. I went to Junior Nationals that first year- where my partner and I were destroyed in the 14 and Under quarterfinals. The next year I was able to get onto a Men’s team and played in the NJMPTL. This was the best thing for me because it forced me to play PADDLE, not tennis on a paddle court. The importance of not missing a screen or an overhead versus hitting drives at 100 mph to guys ready to volley.
I continued to play for the next two years, hopefully improving and also growing. The turning point for me was playing in the NJMen’s League Classic with my dad in Dec 2012. We played 5 tough matches- which included being schooled by Drew Broderick, but like the saying goes, I went in a boy came out a man.
As a 17 year old, I really wanted to play in Junior Nationals again, but didn’t have partner. We talked to Marjorie Hobson, who talked to Mike Gillespie, the Head Pro at Indian Trail Club (site of this years APTA Nationals). Little did I know that Will had also contacted Mike looking for a partner. The rest is history! Will had a passion for paddle like no one I’d met- I knew we were ready to do some damage. Of course I lived in New Jersey and he lived in Pittsburgh. Our moms willing to make it work.  We met and played one tournament and then played in the Junior Nationals.  We made it to the semis- before losing to the eventual winners 8-7 in a proset tiebreaker. Tough loss.


Brian and Will
Will and I knew that we wanted to try one more time. I was turning 18, but had one more year of eligibility. One small problem. I was going to college in Ohio in a town without paddle. I played a few times over this Christmas break and Will (and his mom) joined me in Cincinnati to play in the Midwesterners Tournament in January. It was the first and only time that Will and I could play together since the 2012 Junior Nationals.
After a snow storm that reeked havoc on my flight plans (a whole other story), I got to Philly.  The next day, Will and I remained calm and just played paddle, having as much fun as we could. The final was epic- three sets, come from behind win. It was an amazing feeling and something of which I am very proud. I certainly couldn’t have gotten there without Will, our parents and other supporters.The fact that we are getting to now play in Nationals is just icing on the cake.
After winning Junior Nationals and reminiscing on my short paddle career, I realized just how much paddle means to me.  For me, paddle is a chance to satisfy my need for competition, while having fun at the same time. Tennis is great too, but with pressures of parents and grades, other kids tend to get caught up in only winning, and fail to see the fun aspect. With paddle, I play a diverse crowd, ranging from kids in high school, to retirees, to bankers, to stay-at-home moms. I love being able to meet and connect with all of these types of people. The greatest part of paddle for me though, is now being able to play with my parents, and getting to meet their paddle friends. When I was younger I would go watch them play, but what I found just awesome was the camaraderie after matches, especially the men. They would all be having so much fun, and I wanted to share this experience. This has always fueled my fire to keep working hard. I’ve been recognized as Chuck and Janet’s son, but I feel now that I am eclipsing that into becoming my own person, just Brian Faig.


Left to Right: Will Burger, Gardner Tregellas (New Canaan), Brian Faig (Gillette, NJ), Will Kleeman (Sewickley, PA)
So, what has paddle meant to me? Simply put, everything. It has been a way for me to mature, have fun, be competitive, and meet nice new people with whom I will have lasting relationships. Paddle is the best, and I look forward to playing for the rest of my life. For those of you who are just starting- pick up a paddle and start having fun! 

An Update: Brian is now helping teach juniors in Columbus Ohio. Brian graduated