USTA League Presented by Chrysler
3.5 Senior National Championships
October 19-21, 2007
Day Three - Sunday, October 21
New England Women Win 3.5 Senior Championship
The women’s team from Trumbull, Ct., representing the USTA New England Section, captured the national title at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships held at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz.
The Trumbull team defeated a team from Muncie, Ind., in the championship match. Earlier in the day, the Trumbull, Ct., team defeated a team from Fort Worth, Texas, in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team Co-Captains are Vikki Rozier and Meredith Dommu and the roster includes: Cynthia Altman, Diane Aurillio, Laura Mahoney, Carol Lubin, Dale Cook, Elaine Appellof, Maureen Well, Susan Schettini, Ava Schub, Robin Coleman, Lynn Blueweiss and Suzanne Bates.
|New England Women© Cynthia Lum|
Throughout the weekend, the New England women utilized the "Emotional Freedom Technique" or "EFT," a psychological method utilized to enable an individual to persevere in times of extreme intensity and pressure. "The technique enables you to play your best tennis in pressure situations," said Dr. Elaine Appellof, team member.
|New England Women Performing the Emotional Freedom Technique, (EFT)© Cynthia Lum|
And this certainly was the case, as the team did not drop a single tie-break throughout the weekend on their way to the title.
Midwest Women Place Second
The women’s team from Muncie, Ind., representing the USTA Midwest Section, finished second at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Muncie team lost to a team from Trumbull, Ct., in the championship match. Earlier in the day, the Muncie team defeated a team from Bethesda in the semifinals.
The team Captain is Barbara Dennis and the roster includes: Janet Johnson, Sandy Lee Albregts, Mary Mellen, Jeanna Bozell, Joy Loyd, Barbara Hazelett, Betsy Peckinpaugh, Sara Taylor, Harriett Overmyer and Teresa Day.
|Midwest Women© Cynthia Lum|
Mid Atlantic Women Finish Third
The women’s team from Bethesda, representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section, finished third at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Bethesda team defeated a team from Fort Worth, Texas in the Third Place match. Earlier in the day, the Bethesda team lost to a team from Muncie, Ind., in the semifinals.
The team Captain is Mark Wallendjack and the roster includes: Jennefer Garcia, Terry Martin, Marmar Naji, Denise Ferrenz, Emma Lee, Elizabeth Lynch, Terry Childs, Terri Fecpelstein and Toshiko Hino
|Mid Atlantic Women© Cynthia Lum|
Texas Women Conclude Tournament with Fourth Place
The women’s team from Forth Worth, representing the USTA Texas Section, finished fourth at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Fort Worth team lost to a team from Bethesda, Md., in the Third Place match. Earlier in the day, the Fort Worth team lost to a team from Trumbull, Ct., in the semifinals.
The team Captain is Elaine McCallion and the roster includes: Claire Harrison, Valerie Campo, Betty Kille, Kathy Coughran, Linda Gilson, Akemi Edwards, Deborah Anstice, Christi Gordon, Shelley Watters and Judy Helbing.
|Texas Women© Cynthia Lum|
Northern California Men Capture Title
The men’s team from Fair Oaks, Calif., representing the USTA Northern California Section, captured the national title at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Northern California team defeated a team from Virginia Beach in the championship match. Earlier in the day, the Northern California team defeated a team from Shreveport, La., in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team Captain is Stephen Morton and the roster includes: (left to right in photo) Thomas Lane, Jack Ostrode, David Meegan, Morton (captain), Tony Gilly, David Crump, Ken Cervellin, and Jim Hanschu.
|Northern California Men© Cynthia Lum|
Mid Atlantic Men Finish Second
The men’s team from Virginia Beach representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section finished second at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Virginia Beach team lost to a team from Northern California in the championship match. Earlier in the day, the Mid-Atlantic team defeated a team from Tucson, Ariz., in the semifinals.
The team Captain is Michael Aschkenas and the roster includes:(left to right in photo) Chuck Phillips, John Demosthene, James Laster, Aschkenas (captain), Robert Gompers, Ed Flanders, and Glenwood Morris.
|Mid Atlantic Men© Cynthia Lum|
Southwest Men Close Out Tournament With Third Place Finish
The men’s team from Tucson, Ariz,, representing the USTA Southwest Section, finished third at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Tucson team defeated a team from Shreveport, La., in the Third Place match. Earlier in the day, the Tucson team lost to a team from Virginia Beach, Va., in the semifinals.
The team Captain is Chuck Wagner and the roster includes:(left to right in photo) Gary Lampear, Randy Moon, Wagner (captain), Earl Clayton, Gregory Cross, Stephen Saradnik, and Robert Miller.
|Southwest Men© Cynthia Lum|
Southern Men Place Fourth
The men’s team from Shreveport, La., representing the USTA Southern Section finished fourth at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 3.5 Senior National Championships.
The Shreveport team lost to a team from Tucson, Ariz., in the Third Place. Earlier in the day, the Shreveport team lost to a team from Northern California in the semifinals. They advanced this far by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday.
The team Captain is George Plaxco and the roster includes: Barron O’Neal, Randy Cooper, Cal Schexnider, Andrew Porter and Johnel Huddleston.
|Southern Men© Cynthia Lum|
Day Two - Saturday, October 20
Day Two concluded with the men from the Southwest, Mid Atlantic, Northern Cal and Southern advancing to play tomorrow. On the women's side teams Texas, New England, Midwest and Mid Atlantic will compete tomorrow for the women's title.
Texas Bag Boy
Some teams bring water bottles. Some teams bring towels. But, the 3.5 Senior Women’s team from the USTA Texas Section bring their own "Bag Boy". David Helbing, the husband of team member Judy Helbing, has taken on the daunting task of insuring the safety of the Texas ladies’ equipment.
|David Helbing with the women of Texas© Cynthia Lum|
Standing 6 feet tall with brown hair, a medium build, and most importantly, strong arms, he made the trip to Tucson as a spectator, but has been called on to help the team, which is playing at its first National Championship.
"I came for the road trip and got stuck carrying the bags," said David Helbing. "But it’s a pleasure to help the team."
Fresh off a victory over Southern Cal (2-1), the ladies can attribute a portion of their win to David, who has allowed their weary limbs to rest between matches. Racquets, tennis balls and clothes add up to a heavy load when you carry bags for 11 players, but he is a veteran in this forte. Working at the "Driving Range of Texas" in Arlington, David performs a myriad of duties to maintain the smooth operation at the facility.
When asked which he prefers, Golf or Tennis…
"I’ve changed to tennis once my wife beat me a year ago," said David. "But now I’ve cured that problem!"
Florida Women’s Team Quickie Facts
Team Nickname: Tallahassee TNT
Sectional Motto: Arizona or Bust!
Team Colors: Arizona Turquoise and Grand Canyon Sunset Peach
Team Song: "I Feel Good"
Team Mascot: Monkeys
Team Good Luck Charm: Trolls and Mojo Bands
Nationals Motto: Tallahassee Ninetrolls
|Florida Women© Cynthia Lum|
A Pair of Aces
Mike Ashkenas and Jim Laster, both from Virginia Beach, are out in Tucson this weekend, competing for the 2007 USTA 3.5 Senior National Championships.
Normally, this kind of pressure would be enough to make a player lose his or her nerves. But, not in this case. Between the two of them, they have competed at 30 USTA League National Championships, with Mike and Jim having appeared at 16 and 14, respectively. Over the years they have competed at Adult, Senior and even Super Senior competitions.
|Mike Ashkenas and Jim Laster© Cynthia Lum|
One event that sticks in their minds is the 1991 Senior National Championships in Dallas, Texas. Teams from all over the country made the trip to compete, but when many got there they found that they were not equipped with the right clothing…it turned out that the weather had taken a turn for the worst, causing the temperature to drop significantly. In fact, throughout the event it was hovering around 20 degrees.
"The water fountain froze, with the stream literally freezing in mid-air," said Jim Laster.
"Spectators were bringing blankets from the hotel out to the courts and wrapping themselves up just to watch," said Mike Ashkenas. "Luckily, we had some friends from down there who let us know what the weather would be like, so we were one of the few teams actually prepared to play in those conditions."
And the insider information was definitely helpful, as the team took home the championship by defeating a team from Toledo, Ohio.
After all this time, the competitive juices are still flowing for the two, as they look to try and take home the title here, as well...
Go Forward Warriors
The long road to Nationals has been filled with potholes for the 3.5 senior women’s team from the USTA Hawaii Pacific Section. Like other teams who play the sport of tennis, they’ve suffered from aching bodies, physical ailments and tight joints. Unlike other teams, they overcome their wounds using an Ancient Hawaiian Hake, or chant called Imua Na Koa.
The women’s team name, Na Koa, is Hawaiian for "Warriors" and is appropriate because the ladies have continued to move on in match play and compete at the highest level of tennis as a team. Ruth Nihei, team captain, rallies the team together before every match at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson to perform the ritual chant. Bending down and clapping their hands they cheer the words "Imua Na Koa" which means "Go Forward Warriors".
"The chant is not used to humiliate our opponents but to sike ourselves up," explained Ruth, who initiated the ritual to uplift the team’s spirits. "Our version of the chant is much sweeter than the original version."
Debbie Kilborne, a player on No Koa jokingly added, "It took longer to learn the chant than to learn the overhead!"
The women’s team also has a wonderful mix of ethnic backgrounds, which includes Japanese, Chinese, Filipina, Thailanese, and Caucasian.
"If Hawaii is the melting pot of the Pacific, we hope to be a good representative of that valued diversity."
|Hawaii Women © Cynthia Lum|
Day One - Friday, October 19
The first day is in the books for the USTA League 3.5 Senior National Championships. Play began today at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz and concluded with several close matches. The women of Texas, Intermountain, Mid Atlantic and Hawaii are off to a fast start and currently leading their respective flights. On the men's end, the Southern and Eastern teams finished the day undefeated and will look to continue their stellar play tomorrow.
Forget clapping and applauding. The 3.5 senior women’s team from Pacific Northwest created an original method of cheering on teammates; it’s called the Twizzler Twist!
|Paula Davis Vedder and Sandy Le Page© Cynthia Lum|
Upon their first team victory at the 2007 USTA League Tennis 3.5 Senior National Championships presented by Chrysler on Friday morning, the ladies of Pacific Northwest gathered together and shook a piece of delicious red liquorish high in the air. Why?
"Because it is Sandy’s favorite candy!" explained Judy Baston, team captain. You see, the deciding match between Pacific Northwest and Florida was determined by the No.3 doubles position.
Florida, who was undefeated coming into the Nationals, fought hard, but lost to Sandy Lepage (the red liquorish devotee) and Paula Davis-Vedder of Pacific Northwest 10-7 in the third set.
This exciting and evenly matched contest echoes the level of competition at the 3.5 Senior National Championships. The morale – use whatever method you want to motivate your team and get the "W" at nationals.
|Pacific Northwest Women Rasie Their Twizzler's High© Cynthia Lum|
Tucson Teams Competing in Championships
For this weekend’s tournament being played at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz., both the Southwest women and men have a leg up on the competition. That is because both the Southwest teams are Tucson locals.
|Southwest Tucson Women© Cynthia Lum|
"We are very excited to compete in the championships this weekend in our hometown," said women’s captain Carol Bandy. "Our home court is actually the Himmel Park Tennis Center but we are able to play here at Randolph frequently."
On their so-called home city advantage, the women said it could be both positive and negative. "It’s nice to be able stay at home and prepare, but at the same time we also have other distractions," said Judy Handley. "I think it balances it out in a way."
The Southwest women in fact have a coach in Tucson, Casey Pfordt, who works with the women on improving their game. "Casey really is a great coach and provides everyone with a lot of insight during our practices," said Handley
As well as the National Championships this weekend, the ladies are preparing to play in the Super Senior Championships that are held in Mobile, Ala.
The Southwest men took on Intermountain this morning and won 2-1 but in the second match were defeated by team Southern Cal, 2-1.
The women played teams from the Midwest and Intermountain regions but fell 2-1 to each team.
Two Guys You Don’t Want to Have to Visit
But, if you have to see them, at least you will be in good hands.
These two gentlemen, John Valencia and Tim Nelson are the trainers this weekend at the 2007 USTA League Tennis 3.5 Senior National Championships.
In fact, they serve as trainers for every USTA League National Championships held here in Tucson, and have been doing so for the past nine years. They have also worked at a number of USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships and Section competitions.
|Tim Nelson (left) and John Valencia© Cynthia Lum|
The number of visitors to their stations, and the types of injuries vary from event to event and week to week. Some groups are more competitive than others, and the numbers seem to go up with the intensity level.
"Today from 7 a. m. – 12 p. m. we had about five people come over to see us," said John Valencia. "But, three weeks ago at the 4.5 Adult National Championships we had around 15 people in the same period of time."
So, if you are unlucky enough to have to make a trip over to the trainer’s area, at least you will have the good fortune of being in the experienced and capable hands of these two Tucson-based professionals.
"The people here are great to deal with," said John Valencia. "We look forward to working at these events."
More Than a Trip
Michael Altschuler’s trip to Tucson, Ariz. for the 2007 USTA League Tennis 3.5 Senior National Championships was more than just a trip – it was a journey. To be exact, it was a three and a half day journey.
A team member on Eastern men’s 3.5 senior team, Michael had been never farther west than Niagara Falls, farther east than Cape Cod and farther south than Long Island. He had never been on an airplane either, which was due in large part to a BIG fear of flying. Even a trip to the Grand Canyon State couldn’t convince him to board a plane.
|Michael Altschulerm© Cynthia Lum|
So instead, Mike turned to plan B; he took a train by himself from Albany, N.Y. to Tucson, Ariz. Changing trains only once in Chicago, and stopping in cities like San Antonio, Dallas and El Paso before arriving in Tucson, the total trip took over 75 hours. He left Monday night and arrived at midnight on Thursday. In addition, Mike’s budget didn’t allow for a sleeper car, so he made do with a regular seat.
No one car argue Mike’s passion to play with his team in Tucson. His fear of flying may be a bit extreme, but we can all related to those butterflies that creep up once you get airborne. Asked if he will ever fly, Mike light-heartedly responded, "I’m still young, so maybe I’ll end up on a plane someday."