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Team Florida Finally Claims Its First Victory in Georgia-Florida USA Team Tennis (y) Challenge!

October 9, 2004 11:08 AM

* All Photos Courtesy of Kim Green *



For the first time in its seven year history, Team Florida finally spoiled Team Georgia’s 7th straight run to victory at the annual Georgia-Florida USA Team Tennis (y) Challenge held October 2-3, 2004 in Orange Park, FL.

The GA-FL USA Team Tennis (y) Challenge is an annual team tennis youth event that pits the best 20 teams from GA and the best 20 teams from FL in a border-war that is settled on the tennis courts.  Team Georgia came to town riding a 6-year winning streak but with Team Florida slowing closing the scoring gap each of the last two years.  Well, finally, Team Florida caught up!  Coming down to the last team match, as it has each of the last 3 years, Team Florida held on to and increased it’s first day 14 point lead and won by 51 total points (games) 1,768 – 1,717 over it’s nemesis, Team Georgia.  “It really feels great watching the Florida kids and teams battle it out to the end,” says USA Tennis Florida Director of Community Tennis, Andy McFarland. “In this format of scoring, every game counts no matter if you win or lose your team match.  It turned out that each state won 5 divisions each but the Florida players won more games for the first time in seven years.”

In an event that almost wasn’t held due to the active tropical storm season in Florida, all twenty Florida teams were very eager to still participate in this year’s event.  “As of Monday before the event, we were ready to cancel the tournament due to Hurricane Jeanne ripping through most of the communities these teams were coming from,” states McFarland.  “But, after speaking with all the team captains, they all welcomed the needed break and felt that the kids really needed some FUN!” It seems that the tennis tournament was a great outlet for teams that came from communities like Martin, St. Lucie, Brevard and Polk counties that were hit the hardest and most often from Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne.

The format of play for this unique USA Team Tennis (y) event is of World Team Tennis variety in a modified format.  All teams are co-ed and required to attend with at least 3 boys and 3 girls per team.  Eight-game pro sets are played but it’s the number of games won by each player and team that determines the division winners and the overall tournament winner.  Age divisions included 10, 12, 14 and 18 and under with skill divisions listed as intermediate and advanced.  Teams are placed in their divisions based on how they qualified at their respective State Championships during the summer.  “This is such a unique and special event, we rarely get any teams pulling out once they qualify,” states McFarland.  Scores are added within each division allowing division winners of which Team Georgia won five and Team Florida also won five of the ten total divisions.   But, once the last team match was completed and all the game scores were tabulated, Team Florida squeaked by for its first GA-FL USA Team Tennis (y) Challenge victory.  Sportsmanship winners for Florida were Jordan Rivera, Lakeland, playing for the Dirty Slicers team and Tatiana Conta, Hialeha, playing for the Miami Next Generation team.

Many thanks go to the facility hosts, Eagle Harbor Tennis Park and Orange Park Country Club, for donating their elite and private facilities to this event for the 7th straight year!  “It is really amazing that these two incredible communities offer us their country club clay court tennis facilities to us for free each year so that the kids have an incredible and ultimate tennis experience,” says McFarland.  “Without their willingness to help and donate their tennis facilities, we may not have been able to have this event every year. We have been very grateful the last seven years.”

The division final scores are listed below.  Georgia teams listed in red and Florida teams listed in blue.



10 under Intermediate (draw 1)

Team Name
Games Won
Atlanta-Crist119
Athens-Lawson109
Williams Y - Rally Cats53
Space Coast Sea Urchins39
Winner: Georgia


12 under Intermediate (draw 2)

Team Name
Games Won
Atlanta-Travers99
Dirty Slicers97
Atlanta-DeRosa95
Top Spinners79
Winner: Georgia

12 Under Intermediate Finalists, Team Captains Scott Kendrick & Will Dorman


12 under Intermediate (draw 3)

Team Name
Games Won
Atlanta-Russell113
Atlanta-Lewis103
Treasure Bay Shellackers65
Space Coast Beach Combers50
Winner: Georgia


14 under Intermediate (draw 4)

Team Name
Games Won
Atlanta-Anderson108
Atlanta-Neary94
Rocking Returners91
Kiwi Krushers82
Winner: Georgia


14 under Intermediate (draw 5)

Team Name
Games Won
Next Generation117
The Big Slammers94
Bainbridge-Heard80
Atlanta-Lundstrem69
Winner: Florida

Miami Next Generation: 14 Under Intermediate Champion, Team Captain Ismar Espinosa

Big Slammers Winter Park: 14 Under Intermediate Champion, Team Captain Al Salgado


14 under Advanced (draw 6)

Team Name
Games Won
Miami Dream Team114
Graveyard Shift108
Atlanta-Denson67
Atlanta-Schmitt62
Winner: Florida

Graveyard Shift Lakeland: 14 Under Advanced Champion, Team Captain Travis Montgomery


18 under Intermediate (draw 7)

Team Name
Games Won
Bleckley County-Warren110
Madison-Conner99
Port St. Lucie Eagles75
Hidden Talent74
Winner: Georgia

Miami Hidden Talent: 18 Under Intermediate Finalists, Team Captain, Ruth Clyne


18 under Intermediate (draw 8)

Team Name
Games Won
Big Serve Machine114
Suntree Stallions91
Macon-Belk87
Warner Robins-Thompson61
Winner: Florida


18 under Advanced (draw 9)

Team Name
Games Won
Jacksonville Jaguars118
Big Pimpin102
Atlanta-Reddy64
Atlanta-McCollum61
Winner: Florida

Big Pimpin Lakeland.jpg


18 under Advanced (draw 10)

Team Name
Games Won
Treasure Bay Duckes106
Harbour Ridge T'N'T99
Bainbridge-Powell87
Atlanta-Price30
Winner: Florida

FINAL SCORE:
Florida: 1,768
Georgia: 1,717
 

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