USTA League 4.5 National Championships
Randolph Tennis Center - Tucson, Ariz.
Sept. 28-30, 2007
Day Three - September 30, 2007
So Cal Women, Hawaii Men Capture 4.5 Titles
The USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler is now in the books and winners were crowned Sunday with the Southern California women claiming the 4.5 title with a 5-0 victory over Mid-Atlantic and the Hawaii men defeating New England 4-1.
Check back Monday for more information and photos from the 4.5 event! Congratulations to all the teams that qualifed for this event, held at the Randolph Tennis Center in Tucson, Ariz. .
Order of Finish
1. Southern California; 2. Mid-Atlantic; 3. Northern California; 4. Eastern.
1. Hawaii; 2. New England; 3. Middle States; 4. Texas
Below are the rosters of the top four fininshers in each divisioOrder of Finish
SouthernCal 4.5 Women 1st Place
is Jane E. Pascoe, Krystal Meier, Dorinda R. Jung, Michelle North, Michele Mouttapa-Matek, Tami Berardi, Connie Burggraf, Hatty t Yip, Angela Stephens, Katrina M. Holmberg, Daren M. Collins, Camille McCray, Eileen F. Francabandera, Chie Kawauchi, Sophie Salvador.
Mid-Atlantic 4.5 Women 2nd Place
Joy G. Lareau, Susan B. Hanson, Laura J. Lafors, Kimberly Harrington, Alison Burleson, Margaret L. Crosby, Stephanie Sowers, Stephanie L. Green, Jill Campbell, Jennifer L. Scholtz.
NorCal 4.5 Women 3rd Place
Wendy S. Stovell, Diane J. Demartini, Kristen A. Lehmkuhl, Valerie S. McKinney, Kathleen Smyth, Christine M. Costamagna, Linda Y. Roland, Shelly Thigpen, Debby E. Gelleri, Cynthia Bascara, Fern Y. Ruth, Mai Ichikawa
Eastern 4.5 Women 4th Place
Carol Levine, Tina Stellato, Laura McCracken, Anne-Marie Pensanti, Carol Powers, Ingrid Lopp, Michele M. Spano, Julia R. Sanderude, Jane M. Zenker.
Hawaii 4.5 Men 1st Place
Lawrence L. Lowe, Jayme Depontes, Hector G. Mendoza, Dru Kanuha, Jerome K. Kanuha, Chris Wigen, Mark C. Deckwitz, Gifford Matsuoka, James E. Anderson, Lyle Kaneshiro.
New England 4.5 Men 2nd Place
Gavin Barton, Carel H. Pretorius, Wade S. Frame, Ronald N. Graziosi, Lawrence R. Lebatique, Jason P. Ronan, James M. Atkinson, Gregg A. Luongo, Michael Lapierre, Kevin R. Colozzi.
Middle States 4.5 Men 3rd Place
Joseph R. Fisicaro, Richard P. D'Alessandro, George S. Loesch, Kenneth M. Leese, Richard Hoffmann, Dave Prendergast, Joe D. Kramer, John A. Anderson.
Texas 4.5 Men 4th Place
Jason T. Lee, Greg Kattawar, Graham E. Thurman, Andrew M. Over, Michael Davis, Enrico Brunetta, Greg G. Gold, Torch Acosta, Wilson E. Wicks, Eric C. Strawbridge, Fred J. Schlotterback, Chad Case.
Day Two - September 29, 2007
|Southern California clinched one of four semifinal spots on Saturday (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum). |
ALL ROADS LEAD TO SUNDAY
The motto of every team before starting their season is make it to the Nationals. But once that goal is reached, all teams set another goal – make it to Sunday. After two days and nearly 2500 games played, eight teams reached their goal to compete for the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler.
NorCal, SoCal, Eastern and Mid-Atlantic Showdown for Women’s Title
The women’s team from Northern California qualified to play on Sunday by recording a perfect 3-0 record defeating Missouri Valley 4-1, Florida 3-2 and Southwest 5-0. Val McKinney was a perfect 2-0 in singles and 1-0 doubles while Debbie Geller and Kathleen Smyth combined to go 3-0 in doubles.
While the NorCal women cruised to Sunday, it was a bit more of a nail-biter for the Mid-Atlantic women from Hermitage Country Club in Richmond, VA. After defeating the Pacific NW 3-2, by winning two of three tie-breakers, and then Middle States 4-1 winning both tiebreakers, their berth in the final would be decided on Saturday morning against Intermountain in another tiebreaker. After splitting the first four matches, Mid-Atlantic’s hopes were riding on newcomer Jenny Schultz. She fell behind 5-2 in the tiebreaker, but battled back to close the gap to 9-10. From there, she won three straight points to earn the 12-10 victory and send her team to Sunday.
"Jenny is just a stud," said team captain Alison Burleson, who recruited Schultz to join the team that had twice before reached the Nationals but never advanced to play on Sunday. "Our goal this year was to advance out of the round-robin play. It looks like the third time was a charm."
In their fourth trip to the Nationals, the Eastern women once again advanced to Sunday. They defeated Texas 4-1, Southern 3-2, and Hawaii 5-0. Co-captains and #1 doubles tandem Carol Powers and Anne Marie Pensanti as well as the #2 doubles team Jane Zanker and Ingrip Lopp each went a perfect 3-0.
The final women’s team to qualify for Sunday were Southern California. After back to back dominating 5-0 wins over New England and Northern, where they did not lose a set, SoCal met the undefeated Midwest team from Wisconsin for the right to advance to Sunday. In a close match, SoCal advanced with a 3-2 win. The duo of Connie Burggrat and Katrina Holmberg were 3-0.
The match-ups for Sunday’s semifinals are: Mid-Atlantic vs Eastern and Northern California vs SoCal, thus ensuring at least one team from California competing for the women’s title.
New England, Middle States, Hawaii and Texas Men Battle for Supremacy
The New England men from Woburn, MA., advanced to Sunday by continuing their tradition of squeaking out close wins which included having won the Districts 3-2 and the Sectionals 3-2, 3-2, 4-1. They started the tourney with a 3-2 win over the Midwest and a 3-2 win over the Carribbean. Their third match also was decided 3-2 when #2 singles player Jason Ronan defeated Dale Silha in a tiebreaker. New England went 4-0 to earn their spot Sunday with a convincing 5-0 victory over Southern 2. Carel Pretorius led the way with a perfect 4-0 record in singles.
"Our motto was play to win and make it to Sunday, so I guess mission accomplished," said team captain Larry Lebatique who is one of the many teaching professionals from throughout New England that make-up the team. "Everyone agreed to do what it took to win. I was able to juggle to line-ups without worrying about egos." It paid off and we now have the chance on Sunday to play to win."
The men from Middle States representing Cherry Hill, NJ won 13 of 15 matches to earn their way to Sunday. They started the tourney off with a 4-1 win over Intermountain that was much closer than the score indicated as Middle States earned three of their four wins in tiebreakers. In the second match, a 4-1 win over Northern, Joe Fisicaro rebounded from a disappointing 6-2, 6-0 loss to Intermountain to record a rare 6-0, 6-0 win in his #2 singles match. Middle States earned their spot on Sunday by shutting out Eastern 5-0 on Saturday.
The men from Texas made it to Sunday with one tight match sandwiched between two convincing wins. After starting the tournament off with a 4-1 win over Florida, Texas won a tight match against Southern 3-2 thanks to the tiebreaker win by Wilson Wicks and Enrico Brunetta over Mrinal Das and Todd Garcia. In the third match, they dropped only one set en route to a 5-0 win over Mid-Atlantic.
Hawaii became the final team to advance to Sunday and did so thanks to the formula that rewards overall team performance rather than head-to-head competition. Despite losing 3-2 to the Southwest team from Phoenix, Hawaii’s better overall record (13-7 versus 12-8) earned them a trip to the finals. On both Friday and Saturday, Hawaii got off to a slow start – winning 3-2 over SoCal and losing 3-2 to Southwest. But in the afternoon they beat NorCal 5-0 and Missouri Valley 3-2. Top singles player Naino Depontes of Hawaii defeated John Henderson of Missouri Valley to seal the win and the spot in the finals.
In Sunday’s finals, Hawaii will battle Middle States while New England challenges Texas.
What Happens in Vegas
The men and women from the same club in Las Vegas, NV, Club Sport Green Valley, represented the USTA Intermountain Section at the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler. The Las Vegas teams practice together, play mixed doubles together and are good friends off the court. Even injuries are commonalities among both teams.
Six of the nine women have tennis related injuries and were all going to physical therapy. “We have patches on hips, sciatic nerves, and backs, but we are here ready to play!” said team captain Christy Leggett. A player on the men’s team broke his leg in a motorcycle accident just days after winning the Section Championships.
The women’s team had very tight matches against Middle States, Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic, missing a team win by only one match in each round. The men’s team was victorious over the Eastern team 4-1, but suffered close team loses to Middle States after three tie-breakers and to Northern 2-3.
Regardless of luck, or lack there of, both teams played hard and had a great time together, and I am sure will continue too. The men’s Co-Captain, Marty Mitchell said, “We are what USTA tennis is about. We don’t have any ringers, we just love playing. We love the competition, too. But it is a lot more fun to win.”
Like Mother, Like Daughter, Like Teammates
Some say mothers know best, maybe even on the tennis court. The USTA Hawaii women’s team went undefeated in the season and only lost one match at their section championships. This record may be attributed to their team playing together for some time, but also to two special player relationships.
Two mother daughter teams compete together on the USTA Hawaii women’s team: Alohalani Castro, Belinda C. Castro, Louise Iwamoto, and Holly T. Toguchi. Both daughters, Alohalani and Holly, started playing tennis because of their mothers. Louise and Holly do not play together, but enjoy competing on the same team.
Belinda and Alohalani have always played on the same team. "We know each other’s game, which is one of the reasons we play well together. I just give her that look and she knows what to do," said Mother Belinda Castro. Her daughter, Alohalani, adds, "We hold each other up and stay positive." Belinda and Alohalani played #2 doubles together today against the USTA Eastern Section.
Although the USTA Hawaii women are not advancing to the final day of the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler, like mother, like daughter and like teammates, they look forward to the next competition.
|Mother-daughter bonds run tight for Hawaii team (Photo courtesy of Cynthia Lum). |
BY THE NUMBERS
Here's a look at some of the highlights from Thursday’s opening day of play in Tucson.
450 -- tennis balls used
55 -- kilograms of bananas eaten
680 -- photographs taken by USTA Photographer Cynthia Lum
1128 -- games played
56 – third-set tiebreakers
456 -- sets played
The women’s team continued a long-standing tradition of exchanging gifts before a match. Here are some of the unique gifts that represent their hometowns.
Hawaii - Macadamia Nuts
Eastern - Shot glasses with NYPD and ‘I Love NY’ logos
Southern – University of North Carolina Tar Heel magnets
Texas - Tequila and Margarita Mix
Wisconsin - Talking bottle opener that play On Wisconsin
Day One - September 28, 2007
|(Midwest's Bolek Masiak (L) and Jim Carney (Photo courtesy Cynthia Lum)|
Of the 18 men’s 4.5 teams that competed for a chance to play at the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler
this week, none had tried to qualify for the event more than the men from the Midwest
representing Rush Copley in Aurora, IL – a suburb of Chicago. And of the 10 members of the team, none were more surprised to be here than captain Bolek Masiak.
"It has been an incredible season for our team," explains Masiak. "The core of our team has been together for the past five years and making the nationals has been our goal all along. "We’ve made it to the states every year and were actually one win away from the (Midwest) Sectionals last year, but lost 3-2 to Ohio. We knew the clock was ticking for."
One reason, Masiak and his teammates knew time was running out was that six of his team members were over age 38, including 53 year-old Herb Sistrunk, Jim Carney (48), Steve Frandsen (48), Jimmy Knox (48) and Alan Unnerstall (44). To help fight mother-nature and infuse some youth into the squad, a trio of 26 year-olds and a 36 year-old joined the squad. It was just what they needed to fight off the competition and earn their spot at the 2007 nationals.
But age had nothing to do with Masiak’s surprise at being in Tucson. Just two weeks into the season, the team captain collided with his doubles partner while attempting an overhead smash. He suffered a broken elbow and figured his season was over. In his absence, the team continued to win and with a 13-0 record they welcomed Masiak back for the final two matches of the year. He played with one arm and won both of his matches to secure the team’s 15-0 finish.
On Friday they split their two matches, losing 3-2 to New England and then beating Montgomery, AL 4-1. As for Masiak, he won both his #2 and #3 doubles matches.
"So far this has been everything we had hoped and more," said Masiak. "We hope this storybook season will be extended into Sunday."
No Bags, No Problem
|Dru Kanuha (Hawaii 4.5)|
For the Men’s 4.5 team from Hawaii
, a long trip to the mainland paid off with a successful first day at the USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler.
The team representing Old Airport departed Kona on Tuesday at 3 P.M. and did not arrive in Tucson until Wednesday at 4 A.M.
Although all of the team members made it, one piece of luggage did not -- luckily it did not include their tennis gear. With their opening round match against Southern California
tied at two, the match would appropriately come down to #1 singles. After splitting the first two sets by identical 6-1 scores, Dru Kanuha
– the son of team captain Jerome Kanuha
, would fight off three set points in the tiebreaker against Tim Claar
to earn “Old A” the 3-2 win despite losing 49 of the 88 games played. “We got off to a slow start today,” said Hawaii’s Chris Wigen
. “Dru fought hard to pull this one out for us.”
Old A’s second match of the day against Northern California would be a bit of a homecoming for Wiggins. A member of their #2 doubles team, Wiggins splits his time living in Kona and San Francisco so he knows many of the players on the NorCal team including his opponents Thomas and Tim Lei. Wiggins and Lyle Kaneshiro defeated the sibling duo in a third set tiebreaker to seal Kona’s 5-0 victory and 8-2 record on the first day.
|The 4.5 Men's Team from Hawaii|
|Elisabet Jestice (Missouri Valley, 4.5)|
Elisabet Jestice is from Mountain Home, Ark. and is playing in her first USTA League 4.5 Adult National Championships presented by Chrysler.event with a Springfield, Mo.-based team that won the USTA Missouri Valley Section Championships back in August.
There aren't a great deal of competitive players to give her consistent competition in Mountain Home, none except her family, bu that's a good thing because the Jestice's are a tennis-playing family without a doubt. The Jestice are fixtures at USTA Missouri Valley Section events, and well known not only for their exceptional play and sportsmanship, but the interesting attire they show up to play in.
Jestice's small town of Mountain Home isn't exactly a tennis haven either, and without an abundance of top-level players, Jestice turns to her family to help out with her tennis game. In the Jestice family, any tennis court is home away from Mountain Home. The family, which includes mother Janice, father Melvin, and 11 siblings, use tennis as their primary social and physical outlet and a break from the family business of building homes.
Elisabet's father taught Elisabet and al her bother and sisters not only how to play tennis but to love the game. Hardly anyone of the Jestice's have had anything resembling formal instruction, yet all are 4.0 players and above. A good chunk of the family will be participating in the USTA Adult Mixed Doubles Southern Section Championship in New Orleans, Oct. 19-21. .
This family does more than play tennis together (and very good tennis at that). They also build homes together. All of the family has learned how to be a part of building a home from the ground up. .
The Jestice's aren't hard to spot at tennis tournaments. The women wear long, flowing, colorful skirts and the men wear long pants to play in. Religious beliefs are the reason for this unique on-court attire, and the Jestice's pref clothing that eschews modest and covers most of their arms and legs. Preferring modesty over style, this traditional approach to the game is just an exclamation to the famiy's strong tennis talent.