USTA League Presented by Chrysler
4.5 Senior National Championships
Indian Wells, CA
October 19-21, 2007
Day Three - Sunday, October 21
1st place - FLORIDA
The women's team from Tampa, Florida, representing the USTA Florida Section, captured the national title at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Tampa team defeated a team from Tucson, Arizona, 2-1 in the championship match. All matches were finished in two sets, with the second doubles second set a close 7-5.
The team members include (left to right): Lisa Grattan (St. Petersburg), Andrea Martin (St. Petersburg), Elizabeth Leigh (Tampa), team captain Jaclyn Keller (Treasure Island), Leslie Godwin (Tampa) and Sharon Benson (Tampa).
2nd place - SOUTHWEST
The women's team from Tucson Arizona, representing the USTA Southwest Section, finished second at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Tucson team lost to a team from Tampa, Florida, 2-1 in the championship match. All the teams played strong, however only the third doubles team was able to pull a victory in the championship match.
The team members include (left to right): Nan Cusick (Glendale), Karin Frohlich (Oro Valley), Sheila Johnson (Peoria); Ann Hadd (Tucson); Carol Armstrong (Tucson); Nancy Hosford (Tucson); team captain Leslie Keys (Tucson); Linda Groft (Tucson) and Sue Smith (Tucson).
3rd place - MISSOURI VALLEY
The women's team from Iowa, representing the USTA Missouri Valley Section, finished third at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Iowa team defeated a team from Little Rock, Arkansas, 3-0 in the semifinals. The second doubles team split sets and over came a 6-3 lead by the Little Rock team to win in the super tiebreaker 10-6. he third doubles team was down in the second set 2-5 and came back to win the set at 7-5.
The team members include (left to right): Susan Oertelteam (Decorah), Judy Thompson (Davenport), Mary Kurtz (Bettendorf), Maria Escarza (Moline), Dale Frick (Davenport), Mary Fiala (Cedar Rapids), Cheri Dewaard (Waterloo) and captain Susan Stamats (Cedar Rapids).
4th place - SOUTHERN
The women's team from Little Rock, representing the USTA Southern Section, finished fourth at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Little Rock team lost to a team from Iowa 0-3 in the semifinals. The second doubles team split sets and was up in the third set super tie-break, 6-3 when the Iowa team came back and defeated them.
The team is Crystal Noble (Monticello), April Herrin (Harrison), Bonnie Wettengel (Bentonville), team captain Brenda Jeter (Little Rock), Vicki Taylor (Pine Buff) and Jill Hairston (Little Rock).
1st place – MISSOURI VALLEY
The men’s team from Merriam, KS, representing the USTA Missouri Valley Section, captured the national title at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Merriam team defeated a team from Northern California, 2-1 in the championship match. All matches split sets with the every tie breaker being won by the Missouri Valley team.
The team members include (left to right): Mark Whiting (Lenexa, KS), Ken Watson (Kansas City, MO), Phil White (Shawnee Msn, KS), Rodney Lawrence (Lenexa, KS), Bill Debaun (Leawood, KS), Andrew Scott (Leawood, KS), team captain Robert Dickerson (Overland Park, KS), Wilbur Jones (Shawnee Msn, Kansas) and Michael Cooper (Lake Quivira, KS).
2nd place – NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
The men’s team from Sacramento, CA, representing the USTA Northern California Section, finished second at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Sacramento team lost to a team from the Missouri Valley, 1-2 in the championship match. All the teams played strong, however only the third doubles team was able to pull a victory in the championship match.
The team members include (left to right): Clayton Beckwith (Rancho Cordova, CA), Stephen Bartlett (Sacramento, CA), Raymond Gates (Carmichael, CA); Kendall Homer (Sacramento, CA); Bob Rugen (Gold River, CA); Paul Taylor (Fair Oaks, CA); and team captain Jack Walker (Gold River, CA).
3rd place - SOUTHERN
The men’s team from Monroe, LA, representing the USTA Southern Section, finished third at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Monroe, LA team defeated a team from Florida, 3-0 in the semifinals. All three doubles matches were won in straight sets with only one tiebreaker which went to the Monroe, LA team.
The team members include (left to right): Padg Bolton (Monroe, LA), Rushing Green (Rayville, LA), Wilson Campbell (Monroe, LA), Karminder Dhaliwal (Monroe, LA), team captain Philip Trahan (Monroe, LA), Mark Taylor (Monroe, LA), Mike McNulty (Lake Charles, LA) and Dave Minninger (Monroe, LA).
4th place - FLORIDA
The men’s team from Bradenton, FL, representing the USTA Florida Section, finished fourth at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Palm Springs California.
This Florida team lost to a team from Monroe, LA 1-2 in the semifinals. Florida put up a fight in all matches but were not able to pull it out. “It was a tough one out there today, we played the best we could but anything can happen in the game of tennis” said Jeff Gartman of the Florida team
The team members include (left to right): Jeff Jaudon (Bradenton, FL), Dan McClure (Palmetto, FL), Steven Carter (Apollo Beach, FL), Marty Jacobs (Bradenton, FL), team captain Nicholas Kish (Bradenton, FL), Jeff Gartman (Bradenton, FL) and Allan Thompson (Sarasota, FL).
Final day results from the 4.5 USTA Senior League National Championships:
Womens Semifinals: Florida 2, Missouri Valley 1; Southwest 2, Southern 1
Women's Third Place: Missouri Valley 3, Southern 0
Women's Championship: Florida 2, Southwest 1
Men's Semifinals: Northern California 2, Florida 1; Missouri Valley 2, Southern 1
Men's Third Place: Southern 2; Florida 1
Men's Championship: Missouri Valley 2, Northern California 1
Day two - Saturday, October 20
|Lois Woodard of the 4.5 Senior Women's Intermountain tennis team© Melissa Pampulov|
For This Tennis Player, Life is Precious
Montana resident Lois Woodard was already a winner before she arrived in Indian Wells for the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships.
The 63-year-old Woodard, who plays for the USTA Intermountain Section, is a breast cancer survivor since 2000. “Tennis and my close family got me through this,” she said. “My desire to get back and live was because I love tennis so much.”
She gives the sport of tennis credit for getting her through the ordeal of breast cancer. “I was so determined. If I hadn’t had tennis I don’t know if I would have bounced back.
Since undergoing a mastectomy, Woodard has become an advocate for breast cancer awareness. “Life is precious. I learned to make the most of everyday,” she said. “I try to tell women to do self-exams. All women have to know that it (breast cancer) could hit them.”
Woodard, who represented the USTA Intermountain Section, is a former Miss Vermont who competed at the 1965 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City. “It was an awesome experience,” she remembered. “My brothers cried when I didn’t win.”
She said the experience of attending the pageant as Miss Vermont was extra special because her mother, who accompanied her to Atlantic City, died shortly afterwards of a heart attack.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information, go to http://www.nbcam.org/
|Intermountain 4.5 Senior Women© Adam Davis|
Six is (Just) Enough For Montana Tennis
In Montana, a state where there are more Grizzly Bears than tennis courts, finding tennis players can be a challenge.
But when you find the minimum six players required to field a team and who are committed to playing, the result can be a trip to the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships.
That’s exactly what happened to the USTA Intermountain Section team which competed at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
"We looked under every bush for players," said Co-captain Linda Stancil. "It wasn’t until August when get got everyone to commit."
When Stancil and her co-captain Janet Larsh finally got the team together, it consisted of three full-time Montana residents and three part-time Montana residents. Team member Lois Woodard would make a four-hour round-trip to attend team practices.
"We’re all good friends," said Larsh. "We look after each other." When the team played their USTA Sectional matches, they made a seven and a half-hour trip to Boise, Idaho. According to Stancil, they defeated a "dream team" from Utah in their last sectional match by one individual match to advance to the Nationals in Indian Wells.
This last week, the team left Montana in a snowstorm as they traveled to Salt Lake City to make their flight to Southern California. When they arrived in Indian Wells, they were greeted by temperatures in the 90s.
Having been used to playing high-altitude tennis in Montana, the USTA Intermountain Section team struggled to find their game in the Indian Wells heat as they lost all three of their matches. "Our legs gave out in our second match," Stancil said.
Despite the three losses, the team was upbeat and in a joking mood after their last match. In fact they were trying to set up a practice match with another team before they returned to Montana.
|Marty Johnson of the 4.5 Senior Men's Northern Section team© Adam Davis|
It’s All About Making a Difference
No matter where he lives, Marty Johnson is someone who uses tennis to make a difference in someone’s life.
Johnson, who is representing the USTA Northern Section at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships, helps his wife to bring tennis to youngsters through a multi-cultural tennis and tutoring program.
While living in Sioux Falls, North Dakota, his wife Jill, a language teacher who specialized in English as a Second Language, started an after-school program for immigrants and refugees. The program offered tennis and then tutoring afterwards. There were 100 kids in the program and 50 on a waiting list. While his wife tutored students, Johnson, a USPTA tennis professional, taught tennis. They used two indoor courts laid down on a basketball court at multi-cultural center.
“We got sponsors and provided t-shirts and refreshments,” Johnson said. In 2000 Johnson and his wife moved to Minneapolis. Jill began teaching ESL at a high school. With help from the USTA, they started another multicultural tennis and tutoring program.
According to Johnson, when they began the program, there were only eight members on the boy’s tennis team and a girl’s tennis program did not exist. With the tennis and tutoring program in place, The number of boys playing on the team increased to 32, while a girl’s team started with 20 players.
“Jill is excellent at being the Pied Piper of tennis,” Johnson said. “They had more people on the tennis team her first year there than they did on the football team.”
While Johnson and his wife and faced their share of frustrations and challenges, they remain positive in providing a positive tennis experience for kids. “We get volunteers to help. Basically it’s all volunteers,” Johnson said.
“These kid’s take their school work very seriously,” Johnson said. “It’s a wonderful thing. We get to help them feel like part of the culture and experience the life-long benefits of tennis."
Gartman Puts USTA Championships in Perspective
When 51-year-old Jeff Gartman and his partner Marty Jacobs lost their number one doubles match in a tightly contested third-set match tiebreak he wasn’t upset even though he was playing for his USTA Florida Section team at the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships.
No matter what the outcome of his matches, Gartman, who resides in Bradenton, puts his tennis in perspective.
Gartman draws inspiration from his son Charlie, who was born with a learning disability. “Doctors said he would never ride a bike or play sports,” Gartman said after finishing his match at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
When Charlie was five, Gartman began taking him on skiing trips to Colorado. Later Charlie would learn how to play golf, and at age 17 he would go on to win a gold medal in the Special Olympics.
According to Gartman, when the Special Olympics National Director presented Charlie his gold medal, he asked Charlie about his skiing. The director then awarded Charlie an entry into the Special Olympics Downhill Skiing Competition in Boone, North Carolina. Charlie captured a silver medal, as he finished second by half a second.
When he steps on the court for a match, Gartman says he “constantly and absolutely” draws inspiration from his son.
“We all like to win, but playing golf with my son is so much more important than playing tennis. We just lost a 10-8 third set tiebreaker and here we are talking about my son. That puts things in perspective,” Gartman said.
The USTA Florida Section team lost to the USTA Northern Section team 2-1 but still advanced to the semifinals.
|Cathy Thompson, Coachella Valley Tennis Upmires Association president & head official|
Umpire Helps Spread Tennis in Alaska
Cathy Thomas, who is serving as the Head Official for the USTA League presented by Chrysler 4.0 Senior National Championships, knows a thing or two about helping youngsters learn how to play tennis.
Thomas, who lives in nearby Palm Desert, was invited in 2001 to coach tennis at a recreation center in Fairbanks Alaska. Every year since then she has gone to Alaska from May to October to run a National Junior Tennis League. She is involved in programs with children from age three all the way to high school students.
Her program has grown by leaps and bounds and tennis has become as popular as ever. Every year she helps to bring a group of kids from her tennis program in Fairbanks to attend the Pacific Life Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Plans are in the works to build a tennis center next year.
“It’s all about the tennis up there,” said Thomas.
Day one - Friday, October 19
|Judy Thompson© Melissa Pampulov|
No Strangers to Competition and Winning
What do you get when you gather the best 4.5 Senior Women tennis players in the state? A shot at the National Championships! That’s what Team Captain and former Iowa League Coordinator, Susan Stamats, did for this year’s Missouri Valley team from humble Iowa.
“Iowa is not a highly populated state,” said Stamats. “You look for women who are 50 or turning 50 and can play a high level of tennis and [you get a team] from five different cities.” Team members hail from Decorah, Dubuque, Waterloo, Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities; all of which are a couple of hours away from each other.
The team dominated their district competition that after playing and beating another local team twice, they had to play accommodation teams to qualify for Sectional Championships. The team played five different teams at Sectionals and came out undefeated.
These women are no strangers to competition and winning. Three ladies on the team, Dale Fick, Judy Thompson and Mary Kurtz won the USTA 4.5 National Championships back in 1995. Team Captain Susan Stamats was a member of the 9.0 mixed team that won the Mixed Western Regional Championships in 2006. Su Oertel was the women’s coach at Luther College for over 30 years and claimed 23 Iowa Conference titles. Additionally, Oertel has won over 14 Public Parks titles and was inducted into the USTA Missouri Valley Hall of Fame in 2004. She and fellow teammate, Judy Thompson played on the Virginia Slims Tour (now the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour) for a little while.
“I was fortunate to play with Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King when it (Pro Tour) started in the early 70s,” said Thompson – who was also a nationally-ranked racquetball player. “It was great to be a part of the decision making process of women breaking out on their own.”
One of the team’s players, Julie Westercamp was diagnosed with Stage-3 Melanoma in January and continued to play on the team throughout her chemotherapy. Unfortunately, she broke a bone in her foot during Sectional competition and isn’t able to be with the team at Nationals.
“We got her qualified to play Nationals just in case she could make it,” said Stamats. “Julie and I played together; I was on the deuce-side and she took the net on the ad-side – with her in a cast. We played one point and called a match default after that so she could have three on-court matches under her belt for Nationals."
The Missouri Valley team stood undefeated in their first flight of competition today. They beat Texas 2-1 with close sets and two teams finishing in super tie-breaks.
|Northern California© Adam Davis|
Flying the Friendly Tennis Skies
When Ray Gates decided to fly to the USTA League Presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships in Indian Wells, he did it in style.
Gates, who plays for the USTA Northern California Section team, is a licensed pilot with an impressive background. He served three tours as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and flew 130 bombing missions in Vietnam.
Following the war, he flew for American Airlines for 28 years. “It was a great career,” he said. “It was the best job anybody could have,” he said. The 63-year-old Gates is now a pilot for NetJet, a company which offers jet charters and fractional ownerships.
While other members of the Northern California team took commercial flights to get to Indian Wells, Gates and two of his teammates, Jack Walker and Paul Taylor flew from Sacramento in a Beechcraft Bonanza, a single-engine craft.
Two-hours and fifteen-minutes later despite experiencing some turbulence due to windy conditions, Gates and his teammates landed at the Bermuda Dunes airport, which is a short lob from the Indian Wells Tennis Garden where the Championships are being contested.
Gates, Walker and Taylor all raved about how much easier it was traveling on a private plane and not having to deal with crowds at the airport or having to check-in luggage. “It saves the hassle,” Gates said.
When asked if arriving at the Championships in a private plane helped his tennis, Gates chuckled and said, “It must have, we won both of our matches today.”
The USTA Northern California Section team ended the day with a 2-0 record as they blanked Pacific Northwest and Midwest by identical 3-0 scores.
|Virginia 4.5 Senior Women's Team© Adam Davis|
Hot Weather and “Hot Flashes” Highlight Opening Day
It felt like summer at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden as temperature hovered in the 90s on the first day of the USTA League Presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships.
But the weather wasn’t the only thing that was hot in Indian Wells. The woman’s senior 4.5 team from Vermont, which represents the USTA New England Section, is known as the Hot Flashes.
Dressed in hand-painted shirts sporting a red flash accompanied by matching red skirts, the Hot Flashes have played over twenty years together. Players have come and gone, but the core of the group has not only stayed together, but grown up together.
Of the ten team members who traveled to Southern California this week, eight are from the original team that first got together over two decades ago. The Hot reached the USTA Nationals on three occasions while competing in adult leagues, but this weekend in Indian Wells marks the first time they are playing in a Senior National Championship.
Nancy Furlong, co-captain of the Hot Flashes, was excited about playing tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden just outside the main stadium when Rafael Nadal and Daniela Hantuchova won their respective titles at the Pacific Life Open.
“It’s beautiful! Watching tennis here must be amazing,” Furlong said.
Unfortunately for the Hot Flashes, they fell to Northern California and Texas, by 2-1 scores.
|Mid Atlantic 4.5 Senior Men's Team © Adam Davis|
In Land of Date Palms, Ivy Makes an Appearance
Date Palms are abundant in the Coachella Valley, but on Friday it was Ivy, as in Ivy League, that took center stage at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden where the USTA League Presented by Chrysler 4.5 Senior National Championships got underway.
Playing on a day highlighted by brilliant sunny skies, the Men’s Senior 4.5 team representing the USTA Mid-Atlantic Section began its quest for the National Championship. There are five Ivy League graduates among the eleven team members.
George Duncan (Cornell ’73), Bennett Sweren, (Brown ’78), Braxton Mitchell (Princeton ’78), William Stellmann (Princeton ’79), and William Gaines (Yale ’73) make up the strong Ivy League presence on the team. They all played collegiate tennis with the exception of Stellmann, who played lacrosse.
The Mid-Atlantic team, which is captained by Tom Caldroney, is a close-knit squad with the bulk of the players having played together for almost a dozen years. All of the players live within five miles of each other in the Baltimore area. This is their first trip to the USTA Nationals after reaching the USTA Sectionals six times.
Caldroney, who credits his teams’ success to the time spent practicing and finding the right doubles combinations, said one of the biggest obstacles for their team this year was overcoming a change in surface. They played their league matches on clay, but when it came time for sectionals, they had to adjust their games to a fast hard court surface.
The squad from the Mid-Atlantic Section hoped to get off to a good start, but finished the first day at 0-2 as they dropped matches to the USTA Midwest Section and the USTA Southern Section by 2-1 scores.