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USTA Florida Regional Tennis Columnists

March 1, 2013 04:09 PM
Region 1-West League News, Training Camp
by Scott Harrison, USTA Florida Region 1-West (Panhandle) Columnist
 
region_1W-2012_Womens_7.5_Combo_Team
Escambia Women's 7.5 Combo Sectional Champs, from left; Josette Goyins, Carly Russell, Kathleen Riley, Jena Wise, Chantal Taylor,
Kim Grub
USTA FL Regional Training Camp Held at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola
 
In 2012 both Michael Edge, director of junior tennis programs at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola, and Joe D'Aleo, director of tennis at Tops'l Beach and Racquet Resort in Destin, were appointed to the USTA Florida Coaches Commission.
 
These two top area tennis professionals are to evaluate the best juniors in Region 1. They will then identify the top juniors in Region 1 and send those players to Level 1 Camps to train together with the rest of Florida's best players. They held the first Region 1 training camp on Feb. 23 in Pensacola. With the help of Region 1 coaches and pros, D'Aleo and Edge invited the Top 12 boys and Top 12 girls that were born between the years of 2002-05 to the camp.
 
"As part of the USTA Florida Coaches commission our goal is to create a network of coaches within Region 1 to work with USTA Florida and USTA national to provide our juniors with opportunities to develop, compete and become the next generation of national champions," D'Aleo said.
 
The Pensacola camp used orange and green-dot balls. In addition to D'Aleo and Edge, six other Region 1 coaches assisted in the coaching of up and coming players.
 
Escambia-Wise Wins Women's 2012 7.5 Combo Sectional Championships; Men Runner-up
 
On Jan. 13, 2013, the Women's 7.5 Combo team from Pensacola defeated Hillsborough-Davis Island 2-1 to win the 2012 USTA Florida Combo Sectional Championship in Daytona.
 
Pensacola downed Pinellas-SPA 2-1 in the semifinals. The team was tied 2-1 in matches with Leon-Larson after their Flight 1 Round Robin, but won one more individual match than Leon to advance to the semifinals.
 
The Pensacola team was composed of Josette Goyins, Kim Grub, Kathleen Riley, Carly Russell, Chantal Taylor and Jena Wise. Riley and Russell were undefeated as a team in the tournament! Congratulations ladies!
 
The Men's 7.5 Combo team from Pensacola lost 2-1 to Duval in the finals in Daytona. Pensacola defeated Polk 3-0 in their semifinal match.
 
The Pensacola team was made up of Nathan Crongeyer, Robert Gaddy, Scott Norman, James Whiteside, Calvin Moore and Brent Scott. Crongeyer and Gaddy went 5-1 as a team for the weekend. Great job guys.
 
region_1E-Rickard_High_SchoolSpecial Olympics Kicks Off its Spring Season 
by Kelly Tucker, USTA Florida Region 1-East (Tallahassee-area) Columnist
 
On Jan. 25, 2013, an enthusiastic group of players from Rickards High School, representing Leon County Special Olympics, began practicing for their upcoming spring season.
 
These players will soon join the more than 400 other local area players who can chose tennis as their sport to compete in during the Special Olympic Area Games that will be held on April 6 at Leon High School.
 
Practices are held most Fridays at Winthrop Park with volunteer coaches Wilson Dean and Kelly Tucker, in addition to practices that are held during P.E. at local area schools. Practices for the adult Special Olympic athletes are held on Saturdays at Leon High School with volunteer coach Darcy Bellflower.
 
Training for the Special Olympic tennis coaches who will be sending athletes from Leon County Schools to compete at the Area Games will be held on March 2 at Winthrop Park.
 
For more information about Special Olympics and/or how you can volunteer, please email Melba Jacobs at jacobsm@leonschools.net.
 
region_3-west_tampa_elem_visit_4-12
Tennis at West Tampa Elementary
HCTA Expands its Offer of Free Tennis 
by Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Sun & Nature Coast) Columnist
 
It's been a year since the Hillsborough Community Tennis Association (HCTA) launched its initiative of developing a viable Inner-City Youth Tennis Program in economically-disadvantaged areas. The original plan to partner with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay at two specific sites shifted to partnerships with the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation.
 
"We've been with the City of Tampa the last two years now in the summer and fall programs," said Ray Harrison, president of HCTA. "We average about 40 kids two times a week and plan another site this spring."
 
Plans are also underway to offer free tennis at two county sites, one at the Brandon Community Center and another at Northdale Park. An additional opportunity with The Skills Center in Tampa has allowed the HCTA to impact even more youth. The four-year non-profit center seeks to package academics with sports and life skills in a year-round program.
 
HCTA is able to offer free programs as a result of its success in hosting a charity tennis tournament last fall.
 
"Hopefully, we will be able to offer free tennis programming at parks as well as some low-priced programs," Harrison said. "HCTA's goal is to create a year-round sustainable program that will help develop tennis players for a lifetime. We have 145 elementary schools that are USTA members and, as a result, 400 to 500 kids can funnel to the local facilities."
 
To learn more about HCTA and this initiative, visit www.tampatennis.org.
 
region_8-GabyPollnerGaby Pollner: A Big-Hearted Junior 
By Cary Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (North Gold Coast) Writer
 
Ordinary 15-year old girls spend their time texting, shopping, and following trends. But Gaby Pollner of Boca Raton has more important things to do -- like raising money for charity.
 
A student at Boca Prep, Gaby received an assignment to create a year-long project. As a ranked junior (she was as high as No. 22 in the nation in the 14s), she decided to incorporate tennis, the sport she loves and practices five to six hours a day, into fundraising. She came up with the idea of a round robin tennis tournament, which she named "Racquets for a Cause," where adults could experience tennis from a junior's point of view, by partnering them with her junior colleagues.
 
"I looked at a variety of organizations, but I chose the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS) because a close family member suffers from the disease," says Gaby. "He is such an inspiration in my life, and I wanted to honor him."
 
Next step was finding sponsors. Gaby discovered that, when it comes to good causes like LLS, people are unexpectedly generous. A letter-writing campaign netted donations from all over Mission Bay, her home court, as well as from national and local sponsors, including Babolat, Nutrishop, Solinco Sports, Massage Envy, Tennis Warehouse, and Tennis Anyone.
 
Finding a location was challenging, but Gaby wouldn't give up after being turned down. Finally, Joe Globisch, the pro at South County Regional Park, came through, and offered his Boca facility. If it weren't for Joe, the event might not have happened.
 
Some 50 to 60 people attended, with 20 to 25 actually playing. Gaby set up all the drills and round robin scenarios by herself, based on her years of experience on the court. The event raised $2,000 -- but that's not all. Gaby set up a website where people can continue to donate and purchase t-shirts. Her PowerPoint presentation and essay will complete the school project.
 
"I learned that working for a cause is really rewarding and motivating," reflects Gaby. "You have to value your life, because cancer can happen to anyone at any time. You must live your life to the fullest and, while you're living it, it's an absolute must to give back. That's the most important thing."
 
photo_op-LangmoUSTAFLUSTA Florida Junior Profile: Christian Langmo of Boca Raton 
By Collette Lewis, USTA Florida junior tennis writer
 
Boca Raton's Christian Langmo was the top seed at a national-level tournament for the first time at January's Tennis Plaza Cup, a USTA Level 3 event held in Coral Gables, Fla.
 
Despite that unfamiliar position, the 16-year-old right-hander collected the boys 18s championship on the Salvadore Park Tennis Center's Har-Tru courts, defeating No. 3 seed Catalin Mateas 7-5, 6-4 in the final.
 
Although Langmo lost only one set in his five victories, he was tested from the start of the three-day tournament, beginning with Niles Clark of Fort Lauderdale.
 
"In my first round, I got a pretty tough draw," said Langmo, who beat Clark 7-6(5), 6-4. "I actually played my doubles partner and he played a great match. But I think I was able to play better and better in each match."
 
Against Mateas, a 15-year-old from Massachusetts who trains at the USTA's National Center in Boca Raton, Langmo, who got one break of serve in the first set and two breaks in the second, appeared to be in total control. Mateas got one of the breaks back in second set however, then saved a match point on his own serve, and had two break points to get back on serve at 5-5. But Langmo came up with three big shots, two of them serves, to hold on to a straight-set win.
 
"I've never been a No. 1 seed at this high a level tournament," said Langmo, who trains in Boca Raton with Roger Anderson, the coach and husband of WTA Top 100 player Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa.
 
"I think I did a good job of handling the pressure. There were a lot of good players who could have for sure taken me out, so I did a pretty good job of staying focused and grounded."
 
 
 
 
 

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