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Sunday, October 2
By Jeff Heckelman

Pacific Northwest and Southern Take the Titles!

Well, they didn't come here to lose, as their t-shirts boldly proclaimed when they arrived.  And true to their confident boast, the men's team from Everett, Wash., defeated a tough final round opponent from Caribbean to win the USA League Tennis 2.5 Adult National Championships. 

The final came down to the last match, after PNW's Tom Stingily defeated Caribbean's Tonio Martinez 6-4, 6-2 in the singles and the Caribbean team of Juan Quiles and Claudio Ayala won the first doubles match over PNW's Roger Sayer and Mike Mietzner 7-6, 6-4. 

With a large crowd gathering around the court for the final doubles match, it went to a ten point match tiebreak for all the marbles, with PNW's Tim Everroad and Paul Murawski pulling out an 11-9 clinching win over Caribbean's Juan Flores and Rafael Marchand. 

Earlier in the day, PNW defeated Northern California (Sunnyvale, Calif.) 3-0 in the semifinals, while Caribbean overtook Mid-Atlantic (Montgomery County, Md.) 3-0.  NorCal defeated Mid-Atlantic 3-0 in the third place match.

Men's Champions -- USTA Pacific Northwest (l-r: Paul Michael Murawski, Roger Sayer, Paul Shinoda, Thomas Stingily, Mike Mietzner, Tim Everroad)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography

The final day on the women's side featured a number of close matches, with three of the four contests won by a 2-1 score. 

The final pitted Southern (Cary, N.C.) against Intermountain (Provo, Utah), with Southern coming out on top, 2-1.  The teams split the doubles matches, as Intermountain's Jen Bitton and Janei'a Sperry defeated Southern's Kristen Graham and Rebecca Dekker 6-4, 7-6, while Southern's Diane Hoff and Tamra Aguilar defeated Intermountain's Ann Cardvilo and Shannon Mangum. 

For Southern, singles player Angie Murrane was the difference, winning a match tiebreak 10-3 over Intermountain's Jennifer Wells. 

Earlier in the day, Intermountain defeated Missouri Valley (Tulsa, Okla.) 2-1 in the semifinals, while Southern took out Northern California (Fremont, Calif.), 3-0.  Nothern California defeated Missouri Valley in the third place match.

Women's Champions -- USTA Southern (l-r: Angie Murrane, Tamra Aguilar, Kristin Graham, Rebecca Dekker, Diane Hoff, Nicolette Dunn)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography

FINAL RESULTS

USA LEAGUE TENNIS Women’s 2.5 Adult National Standings
Champion: Southern – Cary, N.C.
2nd place: Intermountain – Provo, Utah
3rd place: Northern California – Fremont, Calif.
4th place: Missouri Valley – Tulsa, Okla.

USA LEAGUE TENNIS Men’s 2.5 Adult National Standings
Champion: Pacific Northwest – Everett, Wash.
2nd place: Caribbean – San Juan, Puerto Rico
3rd place: Northern California – Sunnyvale, Calif.
4th place: Mid-Atlantic – Montgomery County, Md. 

SEMIFINALS AND FINALS RESULTS FROM OCT. 2, 2005

Women’s Finals
Cary, N.C., def. Provo, Utah, 2-1

Men’s Finals
Everett, Wash., def. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2-1

Women’s Semifinals
Cary, N.C., def. Fremont, Calif., 3-0
Provo, Utah, def. Tulsa, Okla., 2-1
3rd place match:
Fremont, Calif., def. Tulsa, Okla., 2-1

Men’s Semifinals
Everett, Wash., def. Sunnyvale, Calif., 3-0
San Juan, Puerto Rico, def. Montgomery County, Md., 3-0
3rd place match:
Sunnyvale, Calif., def. Montgomery County, Md., 3-0

Women's Second Place -- USTA Intermountain (l-r: Jennifer Bitton, Janie'a Nielsen Sperry, Jennifer Wells, Christine Holland, Shannon Larsen Mangum, Ann Cardullo)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Men's Second Place -- USTA Caribbean (l-r: Rafael Marchand, Dantes Montilla Fortun, Juan Quiles, Claudio Ayala, Juan Pito Flores, Tonio Martinez, Adrian Hernandez)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Women's Third Place -- USTA Northern California (seated, l-r: Li Lin, Flora Tang; standing, l-r: Cecilia Hernandez, May Mu, Terry Chuang, Linda Chen, Taemi Kudinar, Angela Kuah, Rita Khurana, Cindy Motamedi, Kiyomi Hayakawa, Maria Scheper)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Men's Third Place -- USTA Northern California (front, l-r: Rohit Behl, Gopikrishna Jandhyala, Jagannath Rallapalli, John Alexandro, Shashi Kumar Gautam, Chris Chong, Dan Lang Tu, Chandrakanth Gadhiraju; back, l-r: John Goolsby, Ravi Ravishankar)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Women's Fourth Place -- USTA Missouri Valley (standing, l-r: Michelle Snyder, Jennifer Whitworth, Elisa Bowen, Sheree McDaniel, Connie Louise Bogard, Elizabeth Hutto, Mary Elizabeth Sanderlin; seated, l-r: Kimberly Annette Berkke, Kelly Press)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Men's Fourth Place -- USTA Mid-Atlantic (l-r: Marc Sauls Watson, Robinson Rowe, Bart Gowen, Mark Lavoie, Dan Hong)© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Saturday, October 1
By Jeff Heckelman

The ladies from USTA Southern (Cary, N.C.) strike a pose on Saturday. They've advanced to Sunday's semifinal round, where they will face the team from Northern California.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography


Semifinals Set

After two days of play, the semifinals are set at the 2.5 Adult USA League Tennis National Championships. 

On the women's side, the team from Intermountain (Provo, Utah) will face off against Missouri Valley (Tulsa, Okla.) while Southern (Cary, N.C.) takes on Northern California (Fremont, Calif.).  Southern, Missouri Valley and Northern California all went undefeated in their respective round-robin flights, while Intermountain went 3-1.

The men's semifinals will feature Caribbean (San Juan, P.R.) against Mid-Atlantic (Montgomery County, Md.) and Pacific Northwest (Everett, Wash.) vs. Nothern California (Sunnyvale, Calif.).  Caribbean and Northern California went undefeated in winning their flights, while Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic each finished second to advance.


Tennis Moms

The Intermountain ladies could call home to their 22 kids with good news on Saturday, after advancing to the semifinals.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography
With a combined 22 kids ranging in age from five months to 30 years old (plus four grandchildren), you can easily forgive the six ladies from Provo, Utah representing the USTA Intemountain Section for looking for, as Jennifer Bitton described, "something to do instead of being moms."  So about a year ago, they turned to tennis, joining a local league and having "no expectations, other than to have some fun," according to Bitton.  While they did have fun, they also kept winning. 

These are definitely not ordinary moms.  Jennifer Wells is a doctor with six kids; Janie'a Nielsen Sperry is the newest mom on the team, bringing five-month-old Cade along for the trip with her husband Rob, who is also the team's coach, and Christine Holland, 53, has four grandchildren.

For Holland, the trip to Palm Springs has been "a lifelong dream.  Not only do I play tennis, but I'm here at Nationals." 

 

No, those aren't five Rafael Nadal look-alikes... it's the men's team from Intermountain.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography
Extreme Fashion Statement

No doubt world No. 2 Rafael Nadal gets his signature sleeveless Nike shirts direct from the company.  But when Alex Barker of Salt Lake City, Utah decided to outfit his teammates from the USTA Intermountain Section in similar gear for their trip to the national championships, he found a much better source. 

"Dude, Nordstrom, twenty bucks," Barker proudly tells anyone within earshot, as his crew shows off its collective guns here in Palm Springs. 

Intermountain's Jacob Colton and his teammates narrowly missed a chance to advance to Sunday's semifinal round, falling to Pacific Northwest on Saturday afternoon.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography
While the guys definitely stood out in their matching bright green shirts, one player made a name for himself on the court.  Jacob Colton had people talking all weekend about his ambidextrous play, as he often switched hands mid-point to hit right- and left-handed forehands.  "I dunno, it just works for me," said Colton, a natural right-hander, "I just trust it more than my backhand."

Colton and his teammates narrowly missed a chance to advance to Sunday's semifinal round, falling to Pacific Northwest on Saturday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 30, 3005
By Jeff Heckelman

The "Tennis Chicks" of Plano, Texas.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography
The Coolest "Chicks" in Dallas

About a year ago, eight relative strangers appeared for one reason or another at the High Point Tennis Club in Plano, Texas looking for a game.  Well, they found each other and a year later, the "Tennis Chicks" are here in Palm Springs representing the USTA Texas Section and playing for a national championship.  "Tennis brought us together," said Debbie Buchanan, the team captain, "and most of us only started playing within the last two years."

It also helped them achieve near rock star status at home. 

"My boys think I'm so cool," said Debbie Bradshaw of her 13- and 11-year-old sons.  "They worship me now - they tell everyone their mom is competing for a national championship," she said. 

Buchanan said some of the ladies on the team decided to start playing after bringing their kids to High Point and thinking, "hey, my kids play - why can't I?"  "Now we can beat our kids," Buchanan said, "so they don't want to play with us anymore."

 

Psych-out

Thomas Stingily is a very arrogant man.  And he's proud of it, so as a gift to his USTA Pacific Northwest teammates on the eve of their first trip to the USA League Tennis National Championships, he passed on his favorite character trait in the form of team t-shirts that read, "I DIDN'T COME HERE TO LOSE." 

Stingley (l.) and his teammates proudly strut their stuff in Palm Springs.© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography

Seeking to psych out the competition by any means possible, the team arrived on site at the Riviera Resort and Racquet Club before their first match proudly wearing the menacing black shirts.  "I'm in sales," Stingily said, "and if you don't have that air of confidence and arrogance, you've got nothing." 

Unfortunately for Stingily's Everett, Wash.-based team, after day one he's the only one who can still back up the brash statement on their shirts.  Playing singles, Stingily won both his matches today, but his team is only 1-1, losing to the USTA Caribbean team in the morning match, but defeating the USTA Northern team in the afternoon.

 

 

The self-proclaimed "cross-section of Maryland women."© Betsy Bender / Cynthia Lum Photography
Maryland Represents

Calling themselves "a true cross-section of Maryland," the USTA Mid-Atlantic ladies from Anne Arundel County, Md. have among their eleven-member team some teachers, a nurse, an archivist, mothers and two grandmothers... and they range in age from 27-year-old Mary Felton to 62-year-old Evelin Reynolds. 

In fact, there were so many people back home looking to play USA League Tennis at the beginning of the year that they had to pick names out of a hat to draw teams, with these eleven forming a team out of 30 initial entrants.  Ironically, they had to play the other 2.5 team in order to win the local District title. 

They've also faced their fair share of adversity already this week, beginning with a flat tire on their way to Palm Springs.  They've also suffered the first injury of the weekend, as Ola Humes sprained her ankle in the morning match on Friday.  Though she was on crutches by the afternoon, at the time she fought through it like any champion would, insisting on finishing her match.

 
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