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Florida Panhandle Tennis News: Whitehurst Twins; QuickStart Spreads

October 21, 2010 10:47 AM
The Whitehurst brothers
Whitehurst Twins Success a Family Effort

By Kelly Tucker, TennisLife-Florida columnist, Region 1 East (Panhandle)

Terrance and Terrell Whitehurst are your typical teenagers with one glaring exception -- they are twins who are top-ranked tennis players in the Boys 14s in Florida at No. 4 and No. 8, and in the country at No. 41 and No. 46, respectively. In doubles they are No. 1 in Florida and No. 32 in the country.  Did I mention the fact that they are also 'straight A' students? 

The twin's success has by no means been a fluke; it can be attributed to their impressive talent, athleticism, and strenuous work-out regimen, but more importantly to their parents Tony and Dawn, who have made significant sacrifices over the years to ensure that the twins remain grounded and are given opportunities to learn "life lessons" both on and off the court. It's no wonder that the boys are academically and athletically gifted, having a mother who is a trail attorney and former sprinter, and a father who owns a communications company. Their father Tony is no stranger to tennis, having played for more than 40 years and NTRP rated as a 5.0 recreational player.  

The twin's tennis journey has truly been a family effort with each member playing a specific role. For example, Tony makes certain the boys are adequately prepared for upcoming matches while Dawn watches as many matches as her busy work schedule allows. The twin's role is to encourage each other to keep a positive mental attitude and to stay focused during competition. This joint effort has brought the family much closer over the years.

I had the opportunity to talk with the entire family one evening while they were in Texas preparing for Super Nationals in August. What impressed me the most about these twins was how polite they were and how enthusiastic they seemed about competing at such a high level of play. Given many of the challenges facing today's youth, it is so refreshing to see these two young men possess the passion and determination necessary to succeed in junior competitive tennis while maintaining a healthy appreciation for the opportunities they have been given. 

According to Tony, he recently witnessed what he believes is a pivotal point in the twin's tennis career in that they have finally reached the level where their talents and life experiences have merged together to shape them into serious contenders. For now, the twins are just excited about starting high school in the fall and seeing where their tennis will take them. Who knows, maybe the US Open...Good luck boys!!

Connor Lyons takes a swing at a QuickStart event at the Pensacola Country Club
QuickStart Explodes Out of the Box on the Emerald Coast

By Scott Harrison, TennisLife-Florida columnist, Region 1 West (Panhandle)

Five tournaments, a regional championship and 51 new kids at the Pensacola Country Club are among the hopeful signs of a successful start to QuickStart Tennis efforts in the Northwest Florida area.

Under the stewardship of Cindy Lozier, USTA Florida local league coordinator for Jr. Team Tennis and QuickStart tournament director and whose energy and enthusiasm are boundless, QuickStart is spreading across the area. In Freeport, north of Destin, a Facebook post resulted in 17 new kids out for the fledgling program run by USPTA Professional Renee Broxson at the public park in Freeport, which also received a USTA Florida 'Share the Love' QuickStart equipment grant.

The Pensacola area pros, along with Lozier, have put together a five-tournament Pensacola-area QuickStart circuit ending with a regional championship at Sandestin Beach and Golf Resort in November.The first tournament was held in June at the University of West Florida (UWF) and drew more than 25 players. The format convinced at least three area USPTA pros the huge potential of QuickStart to get kids playing immediately. Youngsters who couldn't hit a ball over the net or remember the score in their first match were playing some points and having a ball by the fourth match.

Roger Scott Director of Tennis Bruce Caton, Pensacola Country Club Director of Tennis Chris McCullar, Portofino (soon to be junior development director at Roger Scott) Professional Michael Edge, Sandestin pro Patrick Morris, and UWF Tennis Coach Derrick Racine are all on board with QuickStart with an excitement bordering on fanaticism.

At the Pensacola Country Club's (PCC) summer tennis banquet in August, 87 junior players were honored, including the 51 new QuickStart players! Kudos to Chris McCullar and Krysta Edge and their efforts. Caton intends to make Roger Scott Tennis a national mecca for QuickStart. Plans are in the works and Lozier has the grant money for four of the hardcourts there to have permanent QuickStart lines painted, as well as for nine other public courts around the city.

Broxson is so excited about QuickStart that she intends to spread it all around the Destin area where there is no public tennis center, but plenty of courts at resorts, hotels and a few neighborhoods. Watch out for QuickStart in the Panhandle!





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