By Sarah Gulbrandsen, special to USTA.com
The top USTA League Mixed 18 & Over 6.0, 8.0, 10.0 teams in the country finished their season with a flurry of matches on Sunday at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz. The reason for the rush was a rare rain-filled weekend in Arizona, which postponed on-court action all day Friday and all day Saturday and forced the players and tournament staff indoors.
With the delay behind them, everyone was amped to begin play. Yet three teams rose above the rest on Championship Sunday:
The USTA Southern section squad from Knoxville, Tenn., swept past the USTA Caribbean team from Ponce, P.R., 2-1, to capture the 6.0 title.
“Long story short, national champions!,” said Matt Cupp of his Southern squad. “[I’m] in shock with nothing else to say. ‘USTA Southern’ says it all.”
In the 8.0 final, the USTA Eastern team from New York swept USTA Texas, 2-1, to ensure a very happy flight back east.
And in the final title to be awarded in 2013, the 10.0 USTA Southern team from Hilton Head Island, S.C., clinched a 2-1 win over the USTA Northern California.
Below is the placement breakdown of the semifinalists:
Championship: Southern (Knoxville, Tenn.) def. Caribbean (Ponce, P.R.), 2-1.
Third Place: Southern California (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) def. Hawaii ((Honolulu, Hi.), 3-0.
Championship: Eastern (Manhattan, N.Y.) def. Texas (Dallas, Tex.), 2-1.
Third Place: Florida (Tallahassee, Fla.) def. Mid Atlantic (Fairfax, Va.), 2-1.
Championship: Southern (Hilton Head Island, S.C.) def. Northern California (Gold River, Calif.), 2-1.
Third Place: Southwest (Phoenix, Ariz.) def. Middle States (Norristown, Pa.), 3-0.
The Tucson leg of USTA League Nationals is now complete, but the season still goes on. Play will resume next April as the first-ever national USTA League Adult 55 and Over division events will take place at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Ariz., starting Apr. 4 (6.0 and 8.0) and then again on Apr. 25 (7.0 and 9.0).
For now, Tournament Director Darcy Cobb can breathe deep and smile bright at the outcome.
“We got it done – miracle of miracles!” said Cobb, who waited patiently through the deluge. “Sunday was a beautiful day. The staff and players were wonderful.”