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Florida loses two-year grip at ninth annual GA/FL Challenge

October 11, 2006 10:37 AM


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By Jodi Manning

Team Georgia outscored Team Florida during the ninth annual GA/FL USTA Jr. Team Tennis Challenge Oct. 7-8 in Jacksonville at the University of North Florida and Florida Community College of Jacksonville, winning its seventh Challenge against its cross-state rival.

This event, an annual “border war” Team Tennis invitational tournament, invites 20 teams from both states; each team must qualify through their respective state's USTA Jr. Team Tennis Tournament.  Players are divided by four age levels and multiple skill levels, (generated by their team captains).

The grand total number of games won within each match, by each player over the weekend determines the winning state. Team Georgia won by a total score of 1,758 games to 1,700 games.

“This year’s GA/FL Challenge was very close,” USTA Florida coordinator of Team Tennis and first-time tournament director Jodi Manning said.  “After Saturday’s matches, only 2 games separated the teams.

"We were blessed with great tennis sites offered by the colleges, wonderful weather from Mother Nature and a lot of great volunteer help from the tournament staff to the team captains and parents” she said.

In addition to naming an overall Challenge winner, each of the 10 draws declared a champion and finalist.  Team Florida won four of the 10 draws.  Each player took home an award for his/her participation in the weekend tournament.

The most important awards given out were the Sportsmanship Awards, given to individuals who exemplified the best sportsmanship during their matches; these awards were voted on by players' opponents.

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Alison Tanner
, 12u Wildcats from Orlando; and Josh Eason, 18u Suntree Stallions from Melbourne, were Team Florida's two sportsmanship winners.

In addition, a new award was established to honor the late Janet Louer, former director of junior programs for USTA Georgia.  Janet was one of the original creators of the GA/FL Jr. Team Tennis Challenge which began in 1998.

This is a very special award that is voted upon by tournament staff, site directors and tournament officials that witness the tournament.  It is awarded to the most deserving team captain.

The Janet Louer Team Captain Award was given to a team captain that exemplified Janet's qualities and characteristics: fairness, timeliness, honesty, having a fun, positive and encouraging attitude towards players and respecting fellow captains, officials and tournament staff.

The honorable award was given to Nancy Sheahan, coach of the 10u Cobb Crushers from Marietta, Georgia.  Congratulations, Nancy!


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