Brengle’s Australian Open run worth the late nights

Not that she’s complaining.The Dover tennis instructor just didn’t get much sleep the last few weeks after staying up late to watch her daughter, Madison, play in Australia. The 24-year-old Brengle played three straight tournaments Down Under.“I don’t even know what it feels like to get a normal night’s sleep any more,” joked Gaby.Of course, Brengle wouldn’t have missed watching Madison play for the world. After reaching the finals of a preliminary event, Brengle reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.

It was easily her best showing in a Grand Slam event.

Even so far away, it was a memorable experience for Gaby, who’s in the role of both mom and coach for Madison.

“We talked for hours every day before the matches,” said Gaby. “And then we talked after the matches. … She’s used to analyzing the match all by herself anyway so she gives me the blow by blow. So I feel like I’m there.”

While her husband, Dan, was too nervous to stay up and watch their daughter play those late-night matches, Gaby watched them from the edge of seat.

“It’s too exciting not to be (nervous),” Gaby said with a laugh. “It’s like a dream come true for a tennis player. It was wonderful, no question about it.”

Next up for Madison is a trip to Michigan to play in an ITF tournament in a couple weeks. After that, she’ll be playing in Brazil.

Madison was ranked a career-high No. 64 going in the world into the tournament. She’s expected to crack the top 50 when the new rankings come out.

And it didn’t hurt that the player who beat her, 19-year-old American Madison Keys, reached the semifinals, where she played some competitive tennis with top-ranked Serena Williams.

For Gaby, Madison’s big start to 2015 wasn’t all that surprising. She thought her daughter was playing pretty well at the end of 2014, too.

“Hopefully she’ll keep getting better,” said Gaby. “I think she’s getting a little stronger on the court and a lot of it is also belief, too. … She’s my daughter so to me she always looks terrific.”

The Brengles run the Dover Indoor tennis courts, where many of the top young players in the area can be found this time of year. Clearly, the odds of another Kent County player winning in a Grand Slam event are slim.

But Gaby hopes that Madison’s success inspires some young players to do some good things on the court. Madison works with them when she’s in Dover.

“We have so many good players,” said Gaby. “I think more and more of them are playing college tennis and going on. I think they can realize they can do whatever they want with it. It’s exciting to have Dover on the map like that.”

Capital Classic expands

The 10-year-old Capital Classic middle school basketball tournament is moving beyond Dover’s boundaries this year.

The tourney will still conclude at Dover’s Central Middle School on Feb. 13 and 15. But early-round games will now be played at schools in Sussex and New Castle Counties.

Games are slated to be held at Cape Henlopen High (Feb. 9), at Woodbridge High (Feb. 10), at Seaford High (Feb. 11) and at Christiana High (Feb. 12).

The tourney will feature 24 teams, with 12 boys’ squads and 12 girls’ squads. There will be a total of six brackets.

Among the schools slated to compete on the boys’ side are Dover’s Central Middle, Smyrna, Caesar Rodney’s Fifer Middle, Woodbridge, Bayard Middle, Prestige Academy, Cape Henlopen’s Mariner Middle, Providence Creek, CR’s Postlethwait, Seaford, Gauger-Cobbs and Cape’s Beacon.

The girls’ field includes Mariner, Fifer, Gauger-Cobb, Central Middle, Beacon, Lake Forest’s W.T. Chipman, Smyrna, Seaford, Woodbridge, Bayard, Postlethwait and Providence Creek.

Concession stands will be available at all venues. Admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults. Admission will be $5 for everyone on Feb. 15 for the eight championship games.

The Capital Classic can be followed at: #CapitalClassic #CapClassicDE Twitter @capclassichoops and www.twitter.com/capclassichoops.

Odds & ends

•Pat Gallucci has left his job as Polytech High’s athletic director to become the commandant of the new First State Military Academy in Clayton. He’s been involved in sports for 20 years, running the Henlopen Conference middle school wrestling tournament and serving as president of Camden-Wyoming Little League.

Gallucci was previously a Non-Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Marine Corps.

•As you watch New England Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick pace the sidelines in the Super Bowl today, don’t forget that it was a Caesar Rodney High grad who helped form his coaching personality.

CR grad ‘Slats’ Laramore was Belichick’s high school coach at Annapolis, Md. He was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.

“In the Laramore system, he had been king in the past, and was going to be king in the future,” is the way Belichick describes Laramore in the book, “The Education of a Coach.”

“Everyone was treated the same,” Belichick said. “If you cut class, it didn’t matter whether you were the first-string quarterback or the fifth-string safety, you were kicked off. That’s how we did things. No exceptions.”

Sports editor Andy Walter can be reached at 741-8227 orwalter@newszap.com.

Reach sports editor Andy Walter at walter@newszap.com

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