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3.5 Senior National Championships Latest News and Photos

USA League Tennis presented by Lincoln
3.5 Senior National Championships
Palm Springs, CA
Oct. 28 - 31

By Mike Ralston
USTA Press Aide

3.5 Senior Men's Champions - USTA/Mid-Atlantic Section


(Front row, L-R): Roy Loehr, Tim Harrison, Jim Laster, Mike Aschkenas (captain), Dwight Bolling, Dan Sims, Jack Jenkins. (Back row, L-R): Rich Pope, Karsten Nielsen.

3.5 Senior Women's Champions - USTA/Southern California Section


(L-R): Becky Honrath, Judianne Kelly, Robin Culley, Joyce Fidone, Carol Emde (co-captain), Kris Cox (co-captain), Marji Achzenick, Barbara Mu, Sheri Hall, Sheree Manly, Linda, Mosier, Cindy Friendt.

3.5 Senior Men's Finalists - USTA/Hawaii Section

(L-R): Elton Choy, Ben Erickson, Rob Bruggemann, Worldster Lee, Walter Wong (captain), David Chang, Francis Wong, Larry Kobata. (Not pictured): Ron Sera.

3.5 Senior Women's Finalists - USTA/Northern California Section

(L-R): Ann Howard, Patty Wiggins, Joann Bakke, Terrie Christiansen, Judy Rucker (captain), Nikki McLaughlin, Pam Mallory, Joan Martin, Bobbie Holly, Helen Martin.

Champion:  Southern California (Orange County, CA)
2nd place:  Northern California (San Jose, CA)
3rd place:  Eastern (Westchester, NY)
4th place:  Mid-Atlantic (Roanoke, VA)

Champion:  Mid-Atlantic (Virginia Beach, VA)
2nd place:  Hawai (Honolulu)
3rd place:  Southern (Dothan, AL) 
4th place:  Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico) 

(Women’s Finals)
Orange County, CA, def. San Jose, CA, 2-1

(Men’s Finals)
Virginia Beach, VA, def. Honolulu, HI, 2-1

(Women’s Semifinals)
Orange County, CA, def. Westchester, NY, 2-1
San Jose, CA, def. Roanoke, VA, 2-1

3rd place match:
Westchester, NY, def. Roanoke, VA, 2-1

(Men’s Semifinals)
Honolulu, HI, def. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2-1
Virginia Beach, VA, def. Dothan, AL, 2-1

3rd place match:
Dothan, AL, def. San Juan, Puerto Rico, 3-0

Happy Halloween from Palm Springs!
The USTA tournament staff hosted a players' party at the Riviera Resort & Racquet Club on Saturday night. The evening included cocktails, a buffet dinner and a Halloween costume contest. A few of the memorable costumes included, the 10 Little Indians from the USTA/Missouri Valley Section, the Witches (and devil) from the USTA/Pacific Northwest Section and the USTA/Southern women's team as Tropical Depression. Below are pictures of the top three finishers:





Beware of the Ghosts from Marshall Texas!
Do you believe in ghosts? Well, Captain Gay Jordan and the ladies from Marshall, Texas sure do! They had an interesting experience before arriving in Palm Springs. During their Sectional Championships, a team from Northeast Texas, who should have been listed as the wildcard, was listed as the main entrant, thus taking the place of the Marshall team in the draw. The Marshall ladies were not even notified or announced as one of the teams competing in the event. "As far as we were concerned, we didn't even exist," said Jordan. "We can laugh about it now because we won Sectionals and advanced to Palm Springs," said Sondra Daniel. The Marshall ladies defeated teams from Tyler, Longview, Fort Worth and Midland en route to their Sectional title. As a reminder for being overlooked in Sectionals, the ladies have made special handbags displaying the words, "Ghost Team Texas." Hopefully, they can scare the rest of the competition and bring home a title to the great state of Texas. Along with Jordan and Daniel, the other team members include: Libby Matthews, Tina Ware, Beverly Moore, Pet Guerra, Charlotte Jackson, Louise Strain, Debbie Turner, Joanna Trudnak and Martha Gayle. 

The Twin Invasion from Pacific Northwest
The women's team from the USTA/Pacific Northwest Section holds a unique distinction in that they have three sets of twins on their roster - - Kris Mobley (Mercer Island, WA), Sandy Swift (Seattle, WA) and Amy Curtis (Bellevue, WA). "I'm also happy to announce that I became a grandmother at 10:45 a.m. this morning," added Mobley. The team, which plays their matches at Robinswood Public Park (Bellevue, WA) has another fellow Pacific Northwesterner who can also hold the "twin" title. Yep, that's right. The lovable Sheila Banks, tournament director for the event, is also a twin. Other members of the USTA/Pacific Northwest team include: Linda Heimbigner, Geri Aslin, Lucille Barnard, Lucille Zapf, Helen Maginness, Tuparna Hurlburt and Diane Panteleakos.

Editor's note: Strange as it may sound, but I am also a twin. Hi Missy! Hope all is well in good ol' Kansas City!


Look Out, The Pink Ladies of Casper, Wyoming Have Arrived!
Adorned in pink tops and pink diamond bracelets, the Pink Ladies from the USTA/Intermountain Section (Casper, WY) are here to make a statement. Team captain Suzanne Gulley, making her third appearance in National competition, is known to always provide motivation and inspriation to her players before big matches. This year, Gulley handed out goodie bags and wrote poems for her players before the Sectional event in Boise, as well as the National event in Palm Springs. "I think our appearance speaks volumes for the state of Wyoming that we can come out here and compete against teams from bigger hometowns," said Gulley. Gulley's team defeated Team Missouri Valley 2-1 in the first round, but lost to Team Southern California in the second round, 3-0. They will face Team Hawaii on Saturday. In addition to Gulley, the Pink Ladies roster includes: Judy Hamilton, Beverly Loftin, Nadine Sutton, Deborah Theriault, Sandy Tipps, Barb Walker and Bonnie Ward.  

A poem by Suzanne Gulley
We did it. We made it. We're Sectional champs.
We face a new challenge so turn up the amps.
We're here to compete in Palm Springs at Nationals, we ladies in pink are going to be fashionable.
We have some incentive from the Wyoming men.
Let's do what they did - but better - let's win!
Again we have drilled, played and practiced our sport, so go out and compete, take over the court.
We are the Pink Ladies, in pink and in black, we have dedication, we're on the right track.
With ground strokes and volleys and poaches galore, precision shot placement will win the best score.
Stay in the moment, don't worry, don't fret.
Play one point at a time 'til you win every set.
You're ready, you're able to reach for a dream, you have what it takes, this Pink Ladies team.
And now is the time when I get to have fun, my job as your captain is just about done.
The pink sacks before you have a few little gifts and one special package to give you a lift.
I  hope it will be a great good luck charm, a Pink Ladies bracelet to wear on your arm.
There's just one more thing I think you should know.
I found us some sponsors to help pay for the show.
The Wyoming Athletic Club, Wells Fargo, Wyoming Tennis Association and Village Inn
have contributed to encourage us to bring home the win.
So good luck, be tough, play to win number one.
Your rooms have been paid for so have extra fun!

Walter Wong Aims for First National Title Since '94
Team captain Walter Wong is on a mission. Wong, who also serves as treasurer of the USTA/Hawaii Section, is the only member from the '94 team that captured first place at the USA League Tennis National Championships. "The important thing is that they're trying to win again in their late 50's, just as they did in their early 50's," said Hedy Wong, wife of Walter Wong. Unfortunately, the team suffered a setback when Worldster Lee strained his back and had to withdraw from the event. "It was an unfortunate incident that happened on the flight out here. Worldster strained his back while retrieving his luggage," added Wong. Despite the setback, Team Hawaii is off to a good start this weekend. They defeated Team Southern California, 2-1 in the first round and Team Midwest in the second round, 2-1. They will face Team Northern in Saturday's competition. Representing Team Hawaii are as follows: Francis Wong, David Chang, Elton Choy, Robert Bruggeman, Manatu Iosia, Larry Kobata, Ron Cera, Ben Erickson, Salvatore Lanzilotti and Kelvin Yamamoto.

Mandolin, Anyone?
When he's not playing tennis, Josh Bell serves as concert master of the Providence Mandolin Orchestra which is considered one of the best mandolin orchestras in the country. As a youngster, Bell played the french horn and the trumpet, but remembers it wasn't a pleasant experience. "I was dreadful. My mother used to tell me take my instruments some place where she couldn't hear them." After high school, his brother started playing the banjo and he really enjoyed the sound. "Even though I liked the banjo, I wanted to learn a different instrument so I decided on the mandolin," added Bell. "It's worked out really well. I've been a concert master for 34 years and I teach lessons to around 20 students in the evenings and weekends."

Bell started playing tennis when he was 11-years-old and continued through high school. At Brown University, Bell switched from tennis to table tennis and quickly became one of the top-ranked players in the state. Bell and his teammates from USA Tennis New England are truly enjoying their first trip to the USA League Tennis National Championships. "The guys from Puerto Rico are a lot of fun and I met some players from Texas yesterday. Any time you have a common interest like tennis, you're able to make great friendships."

Ten Little Indians from Oklahoma
Ellen Maddon's team is already excited for the players' party on Saturday. The team, who loves to shop, will be dressing up as 10 little indians from Oklahoma. Maddon is also quite familiar with the fierce competition that comes with USA League Tennis play. Since 1994, four of the team members have participated on a USA League Tennis National team, while three of the players (Marie McClain, Maddon and Gail Quinlan) have won a National title. "It's such a great feeling to get back here and compete again. The best thing about USA League Tennis is the competition and the friends you make along the way," said Maddon. Maddon, who has been working for an oil company for the past 33 years, has been competing in the USA League Tennis programs since its inception in 1980.  



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