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4.5 Senior National Championships Latest News and Photos

USA League Tennis presented by Lincoln
4.5 Senior National Championships
Palm Springs, CA
Oct. 21 - 24



USA LEAGUE TENNIS Women’s 4.5 Senior National Standings

Champion: Intermountain – Salt Lake City, Utah
2nd place: Northern California – Santa Rosa, Calif.
3rd place: Southern California – Orange County, Calif.
4th place: Southern – Durham, N.C.

USA LEAGUE TENNIS Men's 4.5 Senior National Standings

Champion: Southern – Louisville, Ky.
2nd place: Southwest – Phoenix, Ariz.
3rd place: Intermountain – Denver, Colo.
4th place: Texas – Fort Worth, Texas


Women's Finals
Salt Lake City, Utah def. Santa Rosa, Calif., 2-1

Men's Finals
Louisville, Ky., def. Phoenix, Ariz., 2-1

Women's Semifinals
Salt Lake City, Utah def. Durham, N.C., 2-1
Santa Rosa, Calif., def. Orange County, Calif., 2-1
3rd place match:
Orange County, Calif., def. Durham, N.C., 2-1

Men's Semifinals
Louisville, Ky., def. Fort Worth, Texas, 2-1
Phoenix, Ariz., def. Denver, Colo., 2-1
3rd place match:
Denver, Colo., def. Fort Worth, Texas, 2-1

4.5 Snr. Women's Champs (Marianne Saibara, Diane Congdon, Sue Ellison, Julia Bradley, Debbie Goodson, Pat Osborn, Judy Clark, Margaret Blake)© Cynthia Lum

4.5 Snr. Men's Champs (Front: Greg Stephenson, John Singerman, Charlie Kane; Middle: Garnet Scott, Gene Leppert, Tom Scovil, Ed Farmer, David Compton, Rich McGrath, Pete Rutledge; Back: John Prewitt, Rod McNerney, Charlie Muntan, Russ Cashon, Doug DeMoss)© Cynthia Lum



Saturday, October 23


Prix’s Team

The women of the Hawaii Pacific Section, out of Honolulu, decided that their name should be changed prior to the National Championships.  What spurred their decision on was the passing of Prix Grimm in January of this year. 

Hawaii Women in Action© Cynthia Lum
Prix Grimm was a fixture on the tennis courts of Hawaii and a Captain of numerous USA League Tennis Teams. Her love for the game was ever-present, and it seemed that anyone and everyone who ever picked up a racket in Hawaii knew her name.  She was one of those people that truly was an ambassador for the game of tennis, not only in Hawaii but throughout the country.  Although she lost her battle with lymphoma earlier this year, she will certainly not be forgotten.  That is why the women at this event have quite fittingly decided to call themselves “Prix’s Team.”




Serious Spectators

They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  I guess that includes the lengths that fans will go to see their friends and family compete at the USA League Tennis National Championships.  The women’s team from Houston, Texas has brought with them people from around the globe…literally. 

Texas Women© Cynthia Lum

One of their fans, Akiko Ohashi, has traveled all the way from Japan just to cheer on her good friends.  Some of their fans will even brave the forces of nature to watch the team compete.  Steve Herrick, husband of team member Mindy Herrick, rode his motorcycle from Houston.  Leaving at 7:30 am on Wednesday morning, Steve drove over 1530 miles to make it to the match.  He was even forced to stop over in Phoenix because of a severe dust storm, during which time he came to the aid of an elderly couple who had a gas spill at a gas station.  And he still made it in time to see the ladies’ first match on Friday at 11:00 am!!!  The term “die-hard fan” was made for these two.



An Award Winning Team

The women’s team from North Carolina, representing the Southern section, has been able to advance to the semi-finals tomorrow.  But, that is not where the awards will end with this team.  Every year these “Mickey Mouse Awards” are given out to different members on the team, but this year they have been renamed the “Goofy Awards.”  Team member Gwen Sasser was called “Gwen Sassoon” in a hometown paper’s article, and will be awarded a bottle of Vidal Sassoon hair product.  Sondra Denny will be given a wig, because it seems that her hair always stays in place during her matches.  Three suitcases will be awarded to Dona Bowland so she will be able to carry all of the key limes, lemons, and grapefruits back to N.C. with her.  A nervous nail-biter, Katherine Shelburn, will receive a stuffed animal of an aardvark, so that she can take on it’s long claws once she bites off all of her own.  Joann Crowley will receive a “Truck Driving Championship” hat, because after competing at last week’s 4.5 Adult National Championships and this week’s 4.5 Senior National Championships, that seems to be the only Championship she hasn’t been to.  And a bottle of wine will be given to Debbie Carmazzi because she doesn’t seem to like it (The rest of the team are the winner’s with this one).  Formerly called the “Sasquatch Team” because their average she size was around 9.5 or 10, these women certainly enjoy playing with one another.  And this should come as no surprise, seeing that three of the women, Katherine Shelburne, Susie Hill, and Caroline Kenning, have played together for the past 24 years. 


He’s a Magic Man

Scott Farr, the Captain of the La Jolla team from the Southern California Section, has a little something extra up his sleeve.  This is because while he is not performing on the tennis court, he is up on stage as a professional magician.


Southern California Men (Farr is third from right)© Cynthia Lum

Known as Great Scott to the general public, he has been performing since the age of 14. Since then he has established himself as one of the top magicians in America.  He has performed in over 60 countries, in over 50 comedy clubs in the United States, and has been nominated 3 times for Close-up Magician of the Year by the Academy of Magical Arts.  Throughout his career, Farr has shared the spotlight with such personalities as: Jay Leno, David Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld, Gary Shandling, Robin Williams, Tom Hanks, Ellen Degeneres and Dana Carvey.  Evidently he is as impressive on the stage as he is on the court.




Friday, October 22


A Friend at Home

The women’s team from New Jersey, representing the Eastern Section, will be one short during this weekend’s National Championships.  Marilyn Fong, one of the team members, lost her brother to liver cancer in recent days.  The other members of the


Eastern Women© Cynthia Lum

team appreciate what she did to help get them to this point and wish that she could also be here.  But, more importantly than losing a teammate, they realize the trying time their friend is going through at home.  This situation has brought the team even closer together and they will try to do their best in the face of the situation.  "We have dedicated our play at this tournament to Marilyn Fong," said Joy Passalacqua, team Captain.  "The team is having a great time here, but we wanted to let her know that our thoughts are with her and her family during this time." 



A Family Affair

The family that plays together stays together...even at USA League Tennis National Championships.  


The Thompsons© Cynthia Lum

At least this is the case with Bob and Joan Thompson.  It seems as though this happy couple can not stand to be away from one another for even a single weekend. Both Bob’s and Joan’s teams, representing the Pacific Northwest Section, made it to the USA League Tennis 4.5 Senior National Championships in  Palm Springs, Calif.  What is even more remarkable is that this is the second year in a row that these two have done this, with last year marking the first time both a husband and a wife had competed at the same National Championships.  It looks like their tennis games are as strong as their marriage.



Xtreme Sportsmanship

The ladies from the Missouri Valley Section are as courteous on the court as they are talented.  The team from Kansas City, Mo., from

Missouri Valley Women© Cynthia Lum

the Heart of America District, took home the title at their Sectional Championship.  But to the surprise of all of them, they also took home the "Xtreme Team" award for sportsmanship at the tournament.  Voted on by their peers and fellow competitors, the team of Jan Allerheiligen, Susan Nealy, Gale Mayfield, Nancy Young, Katie Shappard, and Debbie Sadler, won the distinction as well as a pin for their efforts.  So, if you lose to this team, do not accuse them of not being gracious winners.


"Xtreme Team" Sportsmanship Award© Cynthia Lum


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