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Test of the Best at the 2007 3.5 & 4.5 Sr. Section Championships

May 7, 2007 04:29 PM

RESULTS

Through wind, heat and a nearby 6,500 acre brushfire just north of the Volusia-Flagler county line, over 350 tennis players and 40 teams got more than they bargained for at the 2007 3.5 & 4.5 Senior Section Championships, May 4-6, in Daytona Beach, Fla. The brushfire, which began burning before the tournament started on Tuesday, May 1, was less than 20 miles north of the Florida Tennis Center, the tournament site.  However, with advancement to a National Championship in Arizona or California on the line, USTA league players throughout the state of Florida buckled down, fought through the smoke and did what athletes do best: play through it.

“I’ve never played in anything like that before,” said Linda Miller, a player on Polk County’s 3.5 women’s team.  “It was tough to play in, but you just have to block it out.  At one point, we couldn’t even see the cars [in the parking lot]!”

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Besides the dangerous weather lurking around the area, the tournament couldn’t have run any better.  The senior players displayed a high level of tennis, great team spirit, and little unsportsmanlike conduct.  Susan Cummings, team captain of the 3.5 women’s team from Tallahassee, explained how her teammate, April Rosenau, made magnets for the entire team that said “Arizona or Bust” to help pump them up for the weekend’s competition.

“This is the best 3.5 women’s senior team that Tallahassee has had in many years,” said Susan.  “My goal was to put together a team that would do well at sectionals and at least advance out of our flight.”  The team accomplished more than their goal this weekend by winning the 3.5 senior women’s section championship title.  The 3.5 senior women’s team from Ft. Myers, led by team captain Judy Schafft, finished runner-up. 

The men’s 3.5 senior team from Estero Country Club at the Vines took home first place, beating Tallahassee’s 3.5 men’s team 3-0 in the finals.  These two elite teams topped 11 other groups in their division to claim the title of champions and finalists. 

The women’s and men’s 4.5 senior divisions were played in a round robin format, with each team playing each other.  Six teams comprised the men’s portion, while five teams encompassed the women’s division. 

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Two 4.5 senior men’s teams, one from Sarasota and the other from Tampa, tied for first place, both with a round robin record of 4 wins and 1 loss.  The tournament winner was then decided by the team who had the least games lost.  The Sarasota men’s team clinched first with 100 games lost, compared to Tampa's 123.

Last, but not least, the women’s 4.5 champion was the St. Pete/Clearwater team, led by team captain Jaclyn Keller.  The women swept house with a perfect 4-0 record.  The finalists, 4.5 women’s team from Tallahassee, lost only one match the entire weekend.  It is hard to be perfect, but these two teams got mighty close.


All four champion teams will represent the Florida section at the 2007 USTA National Senior Championships Oct. 19-21.  Men’s and women’s 3.5 divisions will be played in Tucson AZ, while the men’s and women’s 4.5 divisions will be in Indian Wells, CA.

Congratulations to all the players who participated and advanced thus far to the 2007 Senior Section Championships.  Although only four advanced to Nationals, every team walked away with something.  From raffle prizes and trophies, to Chrysler test drives and complimentary water, Gatorade and munchies at the hospitality tent, the goal was to accommodate every player at the tournament.  The Super Grouper Seafood Trailer was also on grounds to satisfy hungry tennis players.

Thanks to all who helped make this a great tournament.  USTA Florida appreciates your constant support!

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