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League Teams Move On at USTA Adult Region Championships

July 20, 2007 04:03 PM

Amidst two busy weekends of tennis, where some teams reached the championship treasure, and others walked the murky clay-laden plank, the USTA League Adult Region Championships presented by Chrysler shifted tides from the North, South, East and West to unveil mysterious teams as true conquerors of the game. 

Teamwork was how the troupes prevailed, accompanied by masterful tournament directors, staff and volunteers who’ve sailed the “seas” before and prepared for the battles to come.

The Battle for Central Control

The Battle for Central Control took place at Countryside Country Club in Clearwater and East Lake Woodlands Country Club in Oldsmar July 6-8.  The classic event brought 31 teams from Polk County, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando together on 28 sea green clay courts total, each suited for eager tennis competitors.  Although the 2007 USTA League Central Regional Championships took place in tropical “park-like” settings at the beautiful country clubs, the action packed competition on the tennis courts was as fierce as the sizzling heat. 

Region 3, or St. Pete/Clearwater, had the breeze on their side as they won six out of nine divisions including women’s 2.5 and 3.5, plus men’s 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5.  Polk County’s 4.0 women’s team, captained by Joanne Collier, had hoped to mirror their accomplishment and win the gold, but instead was pleased with securing bronze.

“It was a good tournament for us, even without the flight win,” said Collier.  “We thought the Countryside courts were in great shape, and Rick Workman and Dave Preston, along with the staffs at both facilities, were very cheerful and helpful.  Besides, the pro shops had wonderful treasures which we captured with our credit cards!”

Congratulations to the six St. Pete/Clearwater teams, the women’s 3.0 team from Polk County, women’s 4.0 team from Altamonte Springs and women’s 4.5 team from Tampa for advancing to the 2007 USTA League Adult Section Championships in Daytona Beach, August 10-12.  Your swords, or rather tennis racquets, were drawn all weekend and met with power, precision and persistence.  Victory at the Battle for Central Control is sweet, but the surge will soon change as the next tournament swiftly approaches.

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The Battle for Northwest Domination  

The Battle for Northwest Domination began in Pensacola on a bright and sunny day, July 6 with the smell of newly opened cans of balls, smooth tennis courts and cheery players, staff and volunteers.  By the end of the weekend, delicious grill vapors had filled the air thanks to Bruce “Grillmaster” Canton, the tennis courts were rocked with serious play time, and about 400 players, staff and volunteers looked forward to a break.  And who could blame them, after an extremely busy weekend of long tennis matches, close scores and perhaps a bit of socializing off the courts?

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Friday evening kicked off the tournament with a Players Social hosted by the Pensacola Sports Association (PSA) and Greater Pensacola Tennis Association (GPTA).  The Roger Scott Tennis Center and Pensacola Racquet Club opened its doors to 350 players and 30 teams for the 2007 USTA League Northwest Regional Championships presented by Chrysler.  Perhaps the best weekend Pensacola has experienced in the past 3 months, the Pensacola men’s 4.5 and women’s 2.5, 3.5, 4.0 teams made their hometown fans very proud by winning four of the nine flights in the championship to advance to the Adult Section Championships in Daytona Beach.  Other teams advancing to Daytona include the men’s 3.0 and 3.5 teams from Gainesville, men’s 4.0 team from Emerald Coast, and women’s 3.0 and 4.5 teams from Tallahassee.

“The teamwork and involvement of the PSA and GPTA exemplifies the community support and hospitality given in this area,” said Sandy Marshall, USTA Florida league coordinator.  “The event was a huge success and in no small measure due to the efforts from the people in Pensacola and league participants.”

The victors have been decided in the Battle for Northwest Domination, but the saga will soon continue over the unpredictable seas in Daytona Beach.

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The Battle of Southeast Summertime Blues

Although rain plagued the town of Boca Raton during the 2007 USTA League Southeast Regional Championships presented by Chrysler and brought about “those summertime blues” to over 300 tennis players and 20 teams, the best of the best at the All England Club saved the pack from complete tennis withdrawal.  Maybe big screen TVs aren’t so bad after all?

Besides minimum rain delays at the beautiful Boca Pointe Country Club in Boca Raton, which hosted their first ever 2007 USTA League Southeast Regional Championships presented by Chrysler, spirits and matches were revived once the sun peaked through and the rain subsided.  Players scuffled on 29 Har-Tru courts for hours and had epic matches, aggressive strategy and some line calls too close for comfort. 

Victory was in everyone’s reach when the weekend began July 6-8, but only seven teams can now truly claim the title of Southeast Regional champs.  Congratulations to the men’s 3.5, 4.5 and women’s 4.0 teams from Broward, men’s 4.0 and women’s 3.0 and 3.5 teams from South Miami and women’s 4.5 from South Palm Beach; there will be no more summertime blues for them as they look towards the horizon for the Adult Sectional Championships up next in August.

The Battle Between Golf and Tennis

A huge number of golf courses may have earned Naples the nickname “Golf Capital of America”, but from July 13-15, during the 2007 USTA League Southwest Regional Championships, its nickname changed to “Home of Tennis Mania”.  31 teams and 400 players gathered at the Naples Tennis Club and Resort to play the green (exactly 37 green tennis courts to be exact), practice their strokes and take home the championship green jacket.  Ok, so there was no green jacket, but there was beautiful glassware that served as trophies for the winners.  Close enough.

The men’s 4.5 and women’s 3.0 teams from Naples shared two victories with the men’s and women’s teams from Charlotte who won the 3.0 and 4.0 divisions, respectively.  Sarasota was the team to beat, taking home 3 victories in the men’s 4.0 and women’s 3.5 and 4.5 flights.  Last, but not least, Bradenton left as champions in the men’s 3.5 division.

Staff, volunteers, maintenance and players all exemplified hard work, helpful hands and teamwork which facilitated the tournament’s successful finish.  Tennis mania took over the town of Naples, and will be expanding even more now that the Naples Tennis Club and Resort club is home to The Academia Sanchez-Casal.  Watch out golfers, tennis is on the rise!

The Battle for Northeast Tennis Rights

Winners of the 2007 USTA League Northeast Regional Championships, located at the Ormond Beach Tennis Center in Ormond Beach and Florida Tennis Center (FTC) in Daytona Beach will have the upper hand when it comes to playing again in August.  They’ve experienced the courts, weather, staff, refs and overall atmosphere associated with the beautiful 8 court and 24 court tennis facilities.  Advantage or not, there will certainly be a high level of competition at the 2007 USTA League Section Championships; the four additional statewide region championships have definitely wet our appetite for what will come next in August.

Despite lengthy rain delays, 415 players and 38 teams stayed focused and waited out Mother Nature’s call of the wild July 13-15.  Jacksonville drenched the competition with their accurate shots and teamwork, walking with six of the nine flights in the men’s 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and women’s 3.0 and 4.5 divisions.  The Daytona Beach ladies 2.5 and 3.5 teams also earned births back to the area, as well as the women’s 4.0 team from Brevard County.

Tournament Director Chuck Collier, wily nicknamed Chief Black Cloud, said, “We must have established some sort of record on Saturday when, after a six and a half hour rain delay, we re-started play by returning the 18 matches in progress and 10 new matches to the courts at FTC in less than 35 minutes.  It is only because of the outstanding efforts and dedication of all that we were able to do so!”

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Special thanks to dedicated hotel, restaurant, and vendor sponsors of USTA League tennis; as well as tournament directors Carl Weathington, Gary Heatwole, Linda Kleitch, Chuck Collier, tennis directors, club staff, league staff and volunteers who all worked hard to get the five region events off the ground. 

The regional championships are the first stepping stone towards Nationals later this year, and even though step 1 of the treasure hunt is finally over, the hunt for gold at the 2007 Adult Section Championships is coming soon!  See you there.

 

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