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Tennis Briefs(9): League, Jr., Florida Recruiting, More

June 14, 2013 11:32 AM

Florida College Tennis Profile: Destin's Alexa Guarachi, Alabama

By Collette Lewis, USTA Florida junior tennis writer
photo_op-GuarachiUSTAFlaAlexa Guarachi definitely saved her best for last, finishing her distinguished All-American career at the University of Alabama with semifinal appearances in both singles and doubles at the recent NCAA Division I Individual Championships on the campus of the University of Illinois.
Unseeded, the senior from Destin ousted No. 2 seed Sabrina Santamaria of Southern Cal in the second round of singles en route to the final four, while she and partner Mary Anne Macfarlane, seeded No. 5, took out the top-seeded doubles team from Georgia while advancing to the semifinals in that competition.
Guarachi's ties to the Crimson Tide go back seven generations, so there was little doubt the blue chip recruit would head to Tuscaloosa to compete at the next level.
"I feel like I bleed Crimson," said Guarachi, who learned the game at the Seascape Resort, where her father, a former player for the Crimson Tide, is director of tennis. "I'm honored to represent my family and go to Alabama. I looked at some other schools, but my heart was always with Alabama. They've been so good to me and I've enjoyed my experience there. I wouldn't change it for the world."
Head coach Jenny Mainz, the 2013 Intercollegiate Tennis Association women's Coach of the Year, credits Guarachi with helping the program reach new heights, which included the team's first appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16.
"Her legacy will live forever at the University of Alabama," Mainz said. "She's done great things individually, but the distance we've come since her arrival to the Capstone as a freshman is vast. I've really enjoyed coaching her; I think she's a phenomenal young lady, and I feel privileged that she chose Alabama."
Guarachi will attempt to sustain the momentum from her outstanding NCAA performance on the USTA Pro Circuit this summer and fall.
"I felt like Mary Anne and I had a great tournament, and the same in singles, I played a great tournament," Guarachi said. "Champaign has been good to me. I'm excited and I'm ready to see what's next for me on the pro tour."
Photo credit: www.zootennis.com

Florida A&M 'Perfect Match' Tennis Benefits Foster Care

by Kelly Tucker, USTA Florida Region 1-East (Tallahassee-area) Columnist
region_1-eThe Second Annual "Perfect Match Tournament," using a doubles-only format, was held at Florida A&M University last month, with the proceeds benefiting One Church One Child (OCOC) of Florida, Inc., a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to find families and permanent homes for children waiting in the foster care system.
OCOC is funded in part through support from the Florida Department of Children and Families, private donations, grants, and fundraisers.
Reverend Al Williams, tournament director and deputy director of OCOC, said "We are pleased with the results of the tournament even though participation wasn't as good as it was last year. The purpose of the tournament was not only to raise money, but more importantly to raise awareness about adoption and the number of children that are waiting for ever loving families to call their own."
Support for the tournament came from many community volunteers who sponsored a community awareness event as well as a social and educational outing for more than 80 youth who are in foster care and/or who attend one the local area elementary schools. Some of the youth were treated to a tennis clinic organized by the City of Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department or other sporting events organized by OCOC.
All of the participants took a tour of FAMU's new fitness facility, which included a presentation on healthy eating, exercise, and nutrition education. Each participant was also given nutrition activity books that were donated by the Florida Department of Agriculture on how to eat healthy and how to prepare healthy meals.
The results of the tournament included:
Men's Doubles: Willard Dudley and Emanuel Uwabi (winners); Jerry Woods and James Glover (runners-up);
Mixed Doubles: Willard Dudley and Maat Sergeant (winners); Kendall Carter and Sheila Jackson (runners-up);
Women's Doubles: Lauren and Lynn Dupis (winners); Shelia Jackson and Tameka Lee (runners-up).
For more information on One Church One Child, please visit www.ococfl.org or email them at info@ococfl.org.

90 Players 'Serve for the School' at Tampa Tennis Fundraiser

by Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Sun & Nature Coast) Columnist
The 26th Annual Morning Star School Tennis Classic included over 90 players competing among nine doubles divisions. For the second straight year, Emerald Greens Golf Resort and Country Club in Tampa was the host site for the May event.
Almost 100 matches were played over a three-day period and, at the end of the weekend, nearly $15,000 was raised for the Morning Star School. The tennis classic is one of three major fundraisers held this school year.
The school, established in 1958, services elementary and middle school children with learning disabilities, autism and other learning challenges. According to Morning Star Administrator Coordinator Paul Reed, when some of the parents on the advisory board decided a fundraiser was needed for some of the school's needs, a tennis tournament was suggested.
"Since that time 26 years ago, we have been proud to host this annual event not only to raise needed resources but to increase awareness for young children who need more individualized, specialized education," Reed said. "Tennis players from around the Bay have been tremendous supporters of our school and for that we are very thankful."
Tampa Bay-area winners among the women were Brianna Williams and Mary Turnes in the 4.5 division, Vicki Dunbar and Georgia Covington in the 4.0, Susan Gerig and Lucille Bartlet in the 3.5, and Gina Morgan and Sharmila Jennas in the 3.0.
Capturing wins in men's competition were Sean Vickery and Mike Hooper in 4.5, and John Knierman and Darin Garner 4.0. Tisha Kilburn and Ron Wiser won the 4.5 mixed doubles title and were joined by champions Ellen and Al Kohn in 4.0, and Katy and Julio Warren in the 3.5 division.
For more information or to provide support to go www.morningstartampa.org.

USTA League Orange/Seminole County 18 & Over Women Advance to Florida Sectionals

By Susie Rahimitabar, USTA Florida Region 4 (Central Florida) Columnist
From left: Crisa Marder, Lisa Hilgenfeldt, Jerre Irwin, captain Denika Williams, Wendy Sisko, Angie Workman, Amy Leasure, Alice-Anne Jackson and Stacey Jackson. Not pictured: co-captain Sarah Longwell, Irene Medary, Jill Irwin, Katherine Yager, Deanne Hutchison, Brenda Nichols, Julie Mogauro, Danielle Steenbergh, Brenda Sue Dykgraff-Thomas, Mercedes Donaldson and Magie Kennedy.
The local season for the Adult 18 & Over Women divisions in Orange/Seminole Counties, Region 4, have come to an exciting end. Winners have been decided, and some divisions featured an exciting sub-flight playoff on May 31, 2013.
A total of 351 players played on 22 teams in four divisions: 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0.
The 2.5 Division winner was the "Ft. Gatlin 2.5 Scrappers-Han," led by captain Kim Han.
The 3.0 Division winner was the "Maitland Miracles 3.0-Blake," led by captain Patty Blake after winning the 3.0 Red Sub-flight, and defeating "Eastside Edge 3.0-Wiernik," led by Alyse Wiernik and Janet Free, winners of the 3.0 Blue Sub-flight in a local league championship.
The 3.5 Division winners were the "Isleworth 3.5-Williams" team, led by captain Denika Williams and co-captain Sarah Longwell after winning the 3.5 Orange Sub-flight in a very close match-up, defeated 3.5 Purple Sub-flight winners "Sylvan Lake Kick Acers 3.5-Crane," led by Karen Crane and Jodi Battista in the local league championship.
The Isleworth 3.5-Williams team was a "Cinderella Story," winning the 3.5 18 & Over Women's division despite odds and circumstances that would have knocked most teams out of competition. Over half of the season was completed when the Isleworth team was scheduled for a match against their toughest rival at the time, the "Waterford Tennis Belles-Giordano," when captain Denika Williams, a new captain to the USTA, was having difficulty putting together enough players to fill a line-up.
In desperation the team was forced to forfeit the entire match, which made all matches in the entire round they were participating in forfeits as well. With four teams in the close division, that meant two more matches forfeited as win-loss does not count, but player results do.
This would be the end of the running for most teams, but Williams continued to coordinate the remaining matches with her opponents, believing that their team was in it to play and would not quit. Oddly enough, and since their prior results were strong enough, at the end of the season Williams was surprised to hear that her team was No. 1 in the sub-flight, and in the local league playoffs to decide the 3.5 division winner.
Deciding to fight, the team rallied together and won the sub-flight playoff and qualified as the Orange/Seminole County 3.5 winner to go on to USTA Florida Sectionals in July.
The 4.0 Division winners was "Azalea Momentum 4.0-Crociata" led by captain Kyrsten Crociata and co-captain Katherine Grady.
These teams will go on to represent the Orange/Seminole area in the USTA Florida Sectional Championships in Daytona Beach in July 2013, and if they win there they will advance to USTA League Nationals in Sept./Oct., either in Indian Wells, Calif. (2.5), or Tucson, Ariz. (3.0, 3.5 and 4.0).
Best of luck to all the teams fighting at the Sectionals this coming July in Daytona Beach.

Profile: Call Me Ismael, for USTA League Teams in Broward County

By Cary Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (North Gold Coast) Writer
The men's 3.5 team advancing to Daytona Beach
"Call me Ishmael," the start of Herman Melville's whale of a classic, Moby Dick, is among the most famous opening lines in any novel. But to the Weston tennis community, Melville's Ishmael pales in comparison to their own Ismael -- Rosales, that is, who is famous in Broward County for doing a whale of a job inspiring team formation. He's started a mind-boggling number of USTA League teams for the Midtown Athletic Club, where he's the director of adult tennis.
Prior to becoming the motivating force for creating huge interest and membership in USTA League teams, Ismael ran the National Tennis School in his native Caracas, Venezuela for 10 years. When he came to Weston 2-1/2 year's ago, there was a total of one USTA team; now there are 15, which is one of the largest number of teams at any one club in the area.
Weston's USTA teams cut across skill levels from 3.0 to 5.0. Last year the club sent the men's 3.5 team and the combo 7.5 men's team to the state championships in Daytona Beach. The former team was one match away from going to nationals.
"When captains select players, it often leads to favoritism and other problems," Ismael says. Therefore, in order to be fair, he watches players perform in challenge and flex league matches, and then, with captains, handpicks the best ones for each team.
Men's league participation has soared from 10 players when he arrived to 120. His women's flex league now boasts 60 ladies. Ismael seeks a balance of competitive spirit with a family-like feeling to create great teams. He attributes his success to the support from club General Manager Steve Strumpf, Tennis Director Maury Bozman, and other club pros.
Broward County local league coordinators Maria Miro and Lou Armstrong feel blessed to have Ismael working with them. According to Lou, "Ismael understands the benefit of participating in USTA Leagues to his club and his players. His encouragement of club members to join league play gives them added value for their membership, and makes the club more attractive to prospective members."
Maria appreciates his true value: "He's very organized, and a pleasure to deal with. I wish I had a dozen like him."

USTA Outstanding Facility Awards Deadline Approaching

USTA_2cKOThe nomination deadline is approaching for the 2013 USTA Outstanding Facility Awards, with nominations closing on July 28, 2013.
"It is a great opportunity to recognize those special facilities in your USTA Section and their contributions to the sport," says USTA national's Trina Singian.
The number of recipients selected annually depends on the quality of applicants. Recipients are selected by the USTA Facility Awards Committee, a subcommittee of the Technical Committee.
Facility award categories are:
Public Courts: Small Tennis Centers 2-10 courts;
Public Courts: Large Tennis Centers 11 or more courts and/or stadiums;
Educational Institutions: colleges, universities, elementary schools, middle schools, or high schools;
Private Facilities: supporting the USTA and other growth of the game programs.
Facilities can learn more about the award or apply at www.usta.com/facilityawards.

Florida 10 and Under Team Tennis Challenge Held at Tamiami Tennis Center

USTA Florida held another in a series of regional one-day 10 and Under Team Tennis Challenges on Sunday, June 9, 2013, at the Tamiami Tennis Center in Miami.
Teams came from as far away as Key West to participate in the event held at the first tennis facility in the U.S. with permanent 36-foot courts, permanent 60-ft courts, and 60-foot blended lines on all of their full-sizes courts for youth play.
Ten teams and a total of 56 youth participated in 10-and-under and 8-and-under divisions using the USTA 10 and Under Tennis format.
"Friends of Miami Tennis is doing such a great job, bringing the permanent kid's courts to Tamiami Tennis Center, which is a Miami-Dade County public park," said USTA Florida Tennis Program Coordinator Cathy Nordlund. "This is what 10 and Under Tennis is all about, seeing the kids on the kid's size courts being successful and having fun."
The USTA 10 and Under Tennis format allows smaller children to emulate adult play on smaller court sizes, with racquet sizes that fit their hands, foam and low-compression balls, a simple scoring system, all adjusted to ease kids into the sport. Similar mini-tennis formats have long been popular in Europe, where stars such as Roger Federer and Kim Clijsters first learned the game with age-adjusted racquets, balls and court sizes.
The USTA Florida 10 and Under Team Tennis Challenges are part of the state's Jr. Team Tennis (JTT) recreational track of events, which also include JTT Regionals events (debuting Fall 2013) and the annual USTA Florida JTT State Championships. USTA Jr. Team Tennis brings kids together in teams to play singles, doubles and mixed doubles against other teams. It promotes social skills and important values by fostering a spirit of cooperation and unity, as well as individual self-growth. Also, it's a fun environment for kids in which they learn that succeeding is really more about how they play the game -- win or lose.
"USTA Florida has decided to focus on providing quality team tennis events for both our USTA members and non-members this year and for years to come," said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. "We believe we can offer exciting recreational play opportunities for kids and families all over the state of Florida."
For more information on USTA Florida youth events, visit www.florida.usta.com/youthtennis.

Two Florida Players in Main Draw at Wimbledon Juniors

wimbledon_logoStefan Kozlov (15 years old, Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Johnnise Renaud (17, North Miami, Fla.) were accepted into the main draw for the boys' and girls' junior singles events at Wimbledon, held June 29-July 7, 2013 at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London.
Kozlov, the youngest boy in the Top 25 of the world junior rankings at No. 21, leads the American boys in the main draw despite being the second youngest player entered in the field.
Americans joining him in the main draw are Thai-Son Kwiatkowski (18, Charlotte, N.C.), Noah Rubin (17, Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Luca Corinteli (17, Alexandria, Va.) and Spencer Papa (17, Edmond, Okla.). Accepted into the qualifying draw was American Martin Redlicki (17, Hawthorn Woods, Ill.).
Last year, Kozlov qualified and reached the second round of boys' singles at Wimbledon as the youngest player in the main draw by more than a year. Kozlov trains at the USTA Training Center-Headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.
Renaud is joined in the main draw by fellow Americans Taylor Townsend (17, Chicago), the No. 1-ranked junior in the world for 2012; Louisa Chirico (17, Harrison, N.Y.); and Jamie Loeb (18, Ossining, N.Y.).
Accepted into the girl's qualifying draw are Alicia Black (15, Boca Raton, Fla.), Katrine Isabel Steffensen (17, Scarsdale, N.Y.), and Dasha Ivanova (16, Beaverton, Ore.).
Past American Wimbledon boys' singles champions include Donald Young (2007), Scott Humphries (1994), Matt Anger (1981), Van Winitsky (1977) and Billy Martin (1973-74). Past American girls' singles champions include Chanda Rubin (1992), Zina Garrison (1981), Mary Lou Piatek (1979) and Tracy Austin (1978).

U.S. College Tennis Recruiters Flock to USTA Florida Jr. State Chps. in Daytona Beach

Gladstone_and_UM_coachThe USTA Florida 'Bobby Curtis' Junior State Championships is not only a proving ground for some of the best juniors in the United States, but a popular recruiting destination for college coaches.
The semifinals on Wednesday and the finals on Thursday saw more than 25 college men's and women's coaches descend on the Florida Tennis Center from universities such as Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Tennessee, Florida Gulf Coast University, Navy, Missouri, Stetson and Dartmouth.
The 65th annual edition of the championships was held June 8-13, 2013 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach, Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs, and at the Ormond Beach Tennis Center.
Historically the highest-quality USTA Section tournament in the country, the USTA Florida Section junior championships have launched the careers of past winners and future No. 1s Chris Evert, Jennifer Capriati, Jim Courier and Andy Roddick among other ATP and WTA tour players over the years.
To see a video of University of Michigan Men's Head Coach Bruce Berque sharing recruiting tips with USTA Florida master of the microphone and Competitive Tennis Coordinator Andy Gladstone, and more videos, go to www.youtube.com/user/ustafl1.





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