The 2017 Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympic Games kicked off on Friday with golf, tennis, and swimming*.
For both golf and tennis, the weather was perfect, with just a hint of fall in the air. The skies were clear, the breeze gentle, and the temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
The AYF Golf and Alumni Open took place at the Oakwood Park Golf Course in Franklin, Wis., continuing the AYF tradition of playing at some lovely courses. There were two foursomes in the men’s division and two golfers in the women’s. Five foursomes competed in the Alumni event. The first tee off was at 8 a.m.
The competition on the men’s side was as we have come to expect. Philly cousins Mark Santerian and Peter Tashjian were vying for first and second. One point separated them at the end. Mark got the gold and Peter the silver. Peter had beat out Mark the past few years. It was Peter’s last year of competition. I expect him to compete and win the Alumni Open next year in Philadelphia. Here are the results:
- Mark Santerian – 77 – Philadelphia
- Peter Tashjian – 78 – Philadelphia
- Michael Haase – 85 – Detroit
- Alexan Topalian – 96 – Providence
Haig Chahinian – 96 – Toronto
For the Women, we had two new competitors, both from New Jersey: Claudia Boyajian and Theresa Jelalian. Both were novice golfers and actually shared a set of clubs. They were not to be outdone by the men: One point separated these two friends.
- Theresa Jelalian – 54 – NJ
- Claudia Boyajian – 55 – NJ
The AYF should note that Claudia is a professional event planner for the accounting and consulting firm KPMG, which clearly qualifies her as potential for the AYF Olympics Governing Body when she becomes an AYF alumna.
The tennis events took place at the McKinley Park Tennis with Lake Michigan in the background. There were eight players in the women’s bracket, and seven for the men’s. The matches were great with the New Jersey women taking three of the four places after sweeping the event last year. They did take all three medals for the second year in a row.
- Lina Ariyan – New Jersey
- Ema Bandazian – New Jersey
- Katia Ariyan – New Jersey
- Kenar Charchaflian – Worcester
Providence was the dominant force on the men’s games, taking two three of the four point places.
- Hagop Taraksian – Providence
- Gabriel Chahinian – Toronto
- Nareg Mkrtchian – Providence
- Garo Tashian – Providence
Note that Lina and Hagop are repeat gold medal winners. Congratulations to both of them.
Kyle Dinkjian of New Jersey and Nareg Mkrtchjan of Providence squared off in one of the best matches of the first round, and they were evenly matched. In the end, Nareg won 9-7, going on to take the bronze medal.
We were delighted to meet a Swedish-born Armenian tennis pro and coach, Daniel Emirzian. He is the graduate assistant coach of the Division 1 women’s program at Northwestern State University in Louisiana. He heard Armenians were gathering for an athletic weekend, in which tennis was included, so he decided to join us for the weekend. Mike Varadian, the Governing Body member running the tennis events, graciously had Daniel present the medals. Coach Daniel was very enthusiastic about AYF Tennis and most encouraging to the participants.
It was a great day of AYF golf and tennis. Thanks to all the participants and volunteers.
*Coverage of the 2017 AYF Olympics swimming events will be provided in a separate article.