Nine teams were crowned National Champions at the WTT Rec League Nationals in Indian Wells.
Indian Wells, CALIF. -- The 2012 World TeamTennis Rec League Nationals concluded Sunday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., with nine teams taking home championship hardware. Teams from California, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and Virginia topped their divisional opponents to score national championship titles.
With nearly 400 players from 15 states and Puerto Rico in town for the tournament, teams battled it out in matches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for a chance to reign as the defending champ of their division. On the last day of the tournament, competition peaked as all teams played their final match of the season, with two matchups being decided in Supertiebreakers. Titles were won in the following divisions: 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, Senior 3.5, Senior 4.0, Senior 4.5, Super Senior 3.5 and Super Senior 4.0.
All matches were played using the WTT format, a fun, fast-paced coed team format that encourages equal contributions from both genders. A team has a minimum of four players, two men and two women. The WTT format uses six no-ad sets: men’s and women’s doubles, men’s and women’s singles and two sets of mixed doubles.
The weekend kicked off with a Wilson clinic with World TeamTennis co-founder Billie Jean King in attendance.
As one of two teams from Puerto Rico who qualified for and traveled to the Nationals in Indian Wells, Conquistadores, of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, proved they deserved their shot at the title. Over the course of the weekend, Conquistadores beat all five 3.0 Division teams by double-digit margins, with a decisive 36-18 win over the second-best team in the division, Avatar, of Whippany, N.J. Winning their first national championship are team members Hector Baez-Ramos (non-playing captain), San Juan, Puerto Rico; Aurelio Garcia Medina and Adalberto Ramirez, both of Ponce, Puerto Rico; Mariela Antomattei, Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Mildred Gonzalez, San Sebastia, Puerto Rico; and Matthew Lee Lebron, Humacao, Puerto Rico.
In the 3.5 Division, eight teams played in two flights of round-robin play in order to determine their seeding for Sunday’s final round. Flight A saw a tight race to the No. 1 spot between True Lies, of Orange, Calif., and Puerto Rico Coconuts, of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Flight B was highly contested between SGV Take Over!, of Orange, Calif., and MixMasters, of Fredericksburg, Va. In the end it was the two Orange, Calif. teams – True Lies and SGV Take Over! – that faced off in the Sunday final. The hometown rivalry resulted in a 32-21 True Lies victory over SGV. Championship team members include Thor Johnson (captain), Orange, Calif.; Jerry Lesser and Greg Mittenhuber, both of Irvine, Calif.; Kari Keese, Tustin, Calif.; Megan Woods, Anaheim, Calif.; Forrest Morrow, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.; Hellen Nguyen, Santa Ana, Calif.; and Michael Keese, Mission Viejo, Calif.
With eight teams contending for the 4.0 Division, the field was split into two flights of four teams for Friday and Saturday play. Teams had one match against each of the other teams in their flight and were then seeded according to their win-loss record for their final match on Sunday. In Flight A, Kumana, of Honolulu, advanced to the championship final after winning all three of their matches. Flight B’s undefeated Pachauri, of St. Louis, was riding three double-digit victories into the title match, but Hawaii’s Kumana proved too much, edging Pachauri 28-21 to earn the championship for the division. Kumana was led by captain Pom Luxton, of Honolulu and winning team members include Raimi Reisen, Mililani, Hawaii; Rob Jaeckel, Kailua, Hawaii; and Jeffrey Grimmer, Janelle Ng, Devin Kutara, Gammon Miura and Jodi Tanabe-Hanzawa, all of Honolulu.
Heading into Sunday, the 4.5 Division could have ended in a three-way tie with Absolute Turtles, of Exton, Pa.; Kinder, of Ballwin, Mo.; and Spin Doctors, of Irvine, Calif., all potentially ending the weekend with a 3-1 record. With a national championship on the line, it was Spin Doctors who rose above the rest to finish the weekend undefeated, winning their fourth and final match and the national title. Champion team members include Kenji Bakuya (captain), Aliso Viejo, Calif.; Tina Mortensen, Bonsall, Calif.; Terry Wong, Tustin, Calif.; Indrani Jackson, Costa Mesa, Calif.; Andy Nguyen, Garden Grove, Calif.; Natalie Loria, Irvine, Calif.; and Adam Clark, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.
SENIOR 3.5 DIVISION:
Over the weekend, teams from California, Florida and New York competed in the Senior 3.5 Division championship. After playing round-robin matches on Friday and Saturday, the teams were seeded for the semifinals, which saw the No.1 seed Roadrunners, of Indio, Calif., face off with the No. 4 seed Racquet Mountain, of Montebello, Calif., and the No. 2 seed NY State Silver Steaks, of Troy, N.Y., meet ACES, of Miami, with the winner advancing to the finals. With the national title within reach, Roadrunners defeated ACES 30-16 to capture the championship. Winning team members include Alan Chevrefils (captain), Indio, Calif.; Debbie Galeazzi, Cindy and Larry Le Roy, all of La Quinta, Calif.; and Rosalinda Benotti and John Jensen, both of Rancho Mirage, Calif.
SENIOR 4.0 DIVISION:
In order to advance to the championship final on Sunday, teams in the Senior 4.0 Division had to win three matches in their flight to secure the top seed and play the other No.1 for the national title. Balboa Bombers, of Coronado, Calif., won out in Flight A to set up a showdown with Flight B top seed Old Strokes, of La Mesa, Calif. In a highly contested championship, Old Strokes edged their opponent 28-26 to win the championship in the Senior 4.0 Division. Team members earning a title are Mike Yaldo and Alissa Weiss, both of El Cajon, Calif.; Dennis Navarro, Chula Vista, Calif.; Cindi Boogaard, Bontia, Calif.; Steven Kavy (captain), Ann Kavy, Celia Lukomski, Javier Sandoval and Kim Stromberg, all of La Mesa, Calif.
SENIOR 4.5 DIVISION:
The five teams in the Senior 4.5 Division each played four round-robin matches over the weekend to determine which team would capture the division championship in Indian Wells. In one of the final matches on Sunday, the Texas Twisters, of Plano, Texas, and Short Skirts Long Racquets, of Virginia Beach, Va. were undefeated. But in the end, the Virginia Beach-based Short Skirts beat their opponent 36-25 to earn the national title. Led by captain David Sloane, other championship team members include Toby Fanney, Kathy Courage, Laura Stone and Florence Deaton, all of Virginia Beach, Va.; Mike Heisler and Tom Winter, both of Chesapeake, Va.; and Marcus Crawford, Newport News, Va.
SUPER SENIOR 3.5/SUPER SENIOR 4.0 DIVISION:
In the combined 3.5 and 4.0 Super Senior Divisions, each team played one another once with the team from each division with the best win-loss record from all matches winning the national championship. Of the two squads contending for the Super Senior 3.5 Division crown, it was the Smashers, of Lancaster, Pa., who won their head-to-head matchup with other 3.5 team Aces 4Kids, of Beverly Hills, Calif., 30-18. Smashers team members include Carol Gleiberman (captain), Thomas Weik and Margaret Weik, all of Lancaster, Pa.; Garry Bashore, Hummeltown, Pa.; Mel Eckhaus, Elliottsburg, Pa.; and Linda Witmer, Millersville, Pa.
For the three teams competing in the Super Senior 4.0 Division, both Winning Shots, of Lancaster, Pa., and Team Davis, of Encino, Calif., met on Sunday having won all three of their matches. With the national championship on the line, Winning Shots prevailed with a 25-21 victory. Winning Shots team members are Elaine Walsh (captain), Joyce Baker and Jim Walsh, all of Lancaster, Pa.; Dennis Keller, Mount Joy, Pa.; Jay Witmer, Millersville, Pa.; Bob Woods, East Earl, Pa.; Lois Anderson, York, Pa.; and Linda Witmer, Millersville, Pa.
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