MARGATE - Chad Kastel said that he's not good at multitasking, but that's what he was mostly doing Saturday at the Margate City Tennis Courts.

Kastel, 27, is the tournament director of the inaugural Margate City United States Tennis Association District Level-7 Tournament. The three-day event, for boys 18-and-under and girls 16-and-under, started Friday and ends Sunday at the Jerome Avenue courts.

Kastel was greeting people, giving advice, overseeing matches, writing and checking results, making phone calls and even running to the car for more tennis balls.

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His goal of holding a USTA event in Margate was successful, with 35 participants entered.

"This is the first USTA tournament in our area in 15 to 20 years," said Kastel, a Margate resident and a former Atlantic City High School tennis player. "When I was growing up there was none in the area. The best players in the area had to drive to tournaments far away to get to USTA events. That costs a lot of money. This gives our local kids a chance to be in a USTA tournament."

Kastel said he applied to the USTA in October of his intention to hold the tournament. It was approved by the USTA's Middle States District over the winter.

He said that starting a tournament isn't easy because there are so many, and the USTA does not like to have them conflict with each other.

Kastel explained that having a USTA event has special significance for young players.

"Colleges don't recruit out of high school tennis," Kastel said. "You won't find college scouts at a high school match. They recruit out of a USTA ranking. Level-7 is the entry level of USTA. When you accumulate points you get a ranking, and can get to Level-6 and on up. This tournament will help our kids to get a ranking."

The girls 16-and-under final and the boys 18-and-under final will be at 1 p.m. today. The boys 16-and-under semifinals will also be at 1 p.m., with the division's final at 3:30 p.m.

"I'm thrilled with the turnout," Kastel said. "Next year, we'll probably have to move it to Atlantic City High School, where there are more courts. We had a lot of local players, and some Philadelphia-area players who were at the shore."

Brandon Gildea, 16, who played first singles for Southern Regional High School this spring, has gotten a lot of playing time, entering both boys tournaments. Kastel coaches the 6-foot-7 Gildea.

Gildea's first match of the day was a 6-1, 7-5 win over Benjamin Friedman of Philadelphia in an 18U quarterfinal. Afterward, Gildea checked his smartphone to get his Middle States District USTA Level-7 ranking, and it was No. 8.

"I used to go to USTA tournaments, and I'm going to start doing it again," said Gildea, of the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township. "I want to be a college player, and this is a good way to get noticed.

"I always try to improve my game, whether it's practice or a match. I played well in the first set. I didn't have many unforced errors in the match, and served all right. I need to work on my nerves, to be more relaxed, and to come to the net more."

Gildea and Mainland Regional's Ryan Pangilinan were both Press honorable mention All-Stars in singles play this spring. Pangilinan lost in an 18-U quarterfinal Saturday.

"I've traveled to other tournaments, in Moorestown, Haddonfield, Lansdale (Pa.) and Princeton, and it's nice to have one here," said Pangilinan, a 16-year-old Somers Point resident. "The competition was decent. I'd like to have more of them around here, and not travel so far."

Nolan Pagay, of Egg Harbor Township, advanced into today's 16U semifinals with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Nikola Kilibarda.

Julia Dalzell, who played first doubles for Holy Spirit last fall, won her first match on Friday but lost in the 16U semifinal Saturday to Aurora Lewis of Princeton 6-2, 6-0.

"It helps to not travel to a (USTA) tournament," said Dalzell, a 15-year-old from Linwood. "This tournament helped me to get better, and I'll definitely go to more of them."

Kastel said he would like to hold boys USTA tournaments in February and March, before the boys high school season, and girls tournaments in July and August, before the girls high school season.

Contact Guy Gargan:


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