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Joey Conrod has made a name for himself on the Newtown High School tennis courts throughout the past four years. Before that, his dad, Dr Tom Conrod, was a standout tennis player in Bristol. These days they are both having success on the court. What’s more, they are winning together.
The father-son tennis tandem competed in The Children’s Charities Tennis Classic at New Britain’s Walnut Hill Park and the Newington Tennis Center in early August. On August 4, Joey won the boys’ 18-year-old division championship, the same one his dad, 51, captured years prior, at Walnut Hill Park, and they combined to capture the parent-child doubles championship at Newington Tennis Center the next day. The latter was held indoors because of rain.
“It’s always a thrill to compete on the court with Joey. Tennis has helped to keep us very close over the years. We will have many long-lasting tennis memories. I used to guide him through the matches and now he’s the one who carries me,” Tom said.
This tourney success is nothing new for the Conrods. Joey has won his age bracket three straight summers, and they took home first-place doubles trophies five times in a row, going back to 2012; there was no parent-child doubles tourney a year ago due to extreme heat.
Joey played against two strong high school players from the central Connecticut area but prevailed decisively to win his age division. This year the Conrods got first-round byes because they were top seeds, but had to win two matches in each event.
“Over the years there have been many tight matches in this tournament but we have found a way to come out on top. This year’s final against the tandem from Kensington was a tough battle. We had to rally from behind in both sets but eventually won 7-6, 6-4,” Tom said.
The Conrods have participated both for the fun and competitive nature of tennis, as well as to help a good cause. The tourney has raised more than $6,000 for the pediatric autism unit of the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain.
“It’s a great tournament and a pleasure to play year after year, especially with my dad in the doubles. It’s for a great cause as well and it’s good to know that such a fun event results in children getting exceptional care at the pediatric autism unit of the Hospital for Special Care in New Britain. It makes me so happy to know this charity tournament has continued on for nearly 40 years. It’s cool that my dad and I both have our names on the boy’s 18-and-under trophy, although the dates are 35 years apart,” Joey said.
Tom played four years of varsity tennis at St Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, and helped the team win Class M state championships in 1982 and ‘83. St Paul Catholic captured the Hartford County Conference Championships every year from 1981 to 1984. Tom went on to play four years of varsity tennis at High Point (N.C.) University, and was named team MVP in 1987.
Joey, like his father, played four seasons of varsity high school tennis, serving as team captain and the top singles player in his junior and senior campaigns, before graduating from Newtown High this past spring. A two-time first team All South-West Conference honoree, Joey will compete for Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., this fall.