Alton High Doubles tournament this Saturday at three venues


Somewhere, in tennis heaven perhaps, Andy Simpson is smiling. Of course, Alton’s first lady of tennis was always smiling.

Especially when we were playing tennis.

The fifth annual Andy Simpson Doubles tournament is scheduled for Saturday at three venues in the Riverbend. The tournament, named in memory of Simpson, will return to its original 11-team format and will be played at three venues, Alton High School, the Bud Simpson Tennis Center at Gordon Moore Park and Lewis and Clark Community College – on courts at the complex tennis player Andy Simpson.

Antigone “Andy” Simpson, who died in 2016 at the age of 92, was the matriarch of one of the region’s most prominent tennis families. She was a special contributor to tennis in the area who helped build the Bud Simpson Courts at Gordon Moore Park and the Andy Simpson Complex at Lewis and Clark Community College.

Her late husband, Bud Simpson, died on the tennis court in June 1982. Their son, Robert Simpson, died in 2004 aged 50. Robert had served on the board of directors of the St. Louis District Tennis Association and was the liaison with the USTA. This led to the creation of the former USTA Futures tournament at the LCCC.

Andy Simpson was always there, supporting tennis in any way he could, said Alton High School tennis coach Jesse Macias.

“Andy was a lovely woman,” Macias said. “She was always smiling and cuddling with the players. She seemed so happy to just be on the courts and around the game.

“I admired her passion for tennis and I appreciate what she showed everyone about supporting people and a sport you love.”

Macias said the Simpson family have made countless contributions to tennis over the years.

“No family could give our area more when it comes to tennis than the Simpsons, and Andy was a true angel in our community,” he said. “They generously helped build the tennis facilities for Lewis and Clark and Gordon Moore, but Andy also loved all of Alton and we appreciate the time and love she gave to everyone.

“This tournament is for Andy and I hope we have great competition and sportsmanship all day to make her proud.”

This year’s doubles tournament is the first with a full contingent of teams since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has shortened it for the past two years. The Alton High Redbirds won a three-team version last season.

Bradley-Bourbonnais won the 2019 tournament and returns this year. Other teams on the field include Quincy Notre Dame, Rochester, Jersey, Highland, Greenville, Roxana, Collinsville, Father McGivney High and Civic Memorial.

“Jersey will be tough because they have a lot of returning girls,” Macias said, “and Highland and Greenville will be good too. Roxana and Father McGivney are smaller schools, but they have great coaches and they make the ground even deeper.

Alton, who opens his regular season on Friday against Bradley-Bourbonnais at the LCCC, returns three performers from last season’s All-Southwestern Conference, seniors Lydia Taul and Anna Brady, as well as second Lily Schuler.

AHS will also have seniors Elinore Schuler, Devora Newquist and Chloe Plow to give the Redbirds an experienced squad.

“We graduated two outstanding senior captains, Anna Kane and Millie Redman,” Macias said, “but they were able to show the young players the importance of dedication and teamwork. This senior class has five tough players who have worked in the offseason, so we’re hoping to step up our game.”

Additionally, eight sophomores will contribute, including Scarlett Eades, Jenna Fassler, Lauren Massey, Nadja Kaptanavich, Ellie Enos, Finley Haynes, Jamie Postlewait and Rileigh Dooley.

The large AHS contingent will mean more chances to play in the tournament after a team drops out.

“We’re able to field two teams on Saturday,” Macias said, “which means a lot of players will get meaningful games at the start of the year. Our sophomores really need that experience and I think they are ready to show what they can do.

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