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2006 4.0 Senior League National Championship News

by Nick Mazzella

View Men's Results           View Women's Results

Sunday, October 15


USTA League Tennis Women’s 4.0 Senior National Standings
Champion: Pacific Northwest – Beaverton, Oregon
2nd place: Northern Cal – San Leandro, California
3rd place: Southern Cal – Fountain Valley, California
4th place: Middle States – Wilmington, Delaware

USTA League Tennis Men’s 4.0 Senior National Standings
Champion: New England – Warwick, Rhode Island
2nd place: Florida – St. Petersburg, Florida
3rd place: Southwest – Phoenix, Arizona
4th place: Hawaii – Kailua, Hawaii  


Women's Champion: Pacific Northwest – Beaverton, Oregon

Left to Right: Linda Christeson, Bernadette Widolff, Jean Bain, Kathryn Smith, Lani Harris, Nancy Decherd, Carlene Sonnenberg, Joanetta Testa.  Not Shown: Paula Novak

Men's Champion: New England – Warwick, Rhode Island

Front Row: Arthur Schick, Michael Benevides, Prabhakar Tipirneni, Bob Milligan, John Murray.  Back Row: Edward Hart, Tom Darby, Arthur Palmer with son Patrick.  Not Shown: Gordon Scott, David Burns.


Women's 2nd place: Northern Cal – San Leandro, California

Jane Gee, Nancy Fong, Jennifer Yanagi, June Leong, Ellen Narasaki, Susan Shears, Bonnie Lowe.  Not Shown: May Wong, Margo Garner, Nancy Rupprecht, Marilyn Kihara.


Men's 2nd place: Florida – St. Petersburg, Florida

Front Row: Donald Mathias, Nga Duong, Terry Reeb.  Back Row: Covington Sharp, David Dickerson, David Pitt, Scott Stewart.  Not Shown: Donald Wheeler, Scott Johnston, Terrence Brett.


Women's 3rd place: Southern Cal – Fountain Valley, California 

Billie Jean McCartney, Nancy Fussell, Sharon Wynn, Mary Castillon, Maureen Conter, Sharon Sammann, Judianne Kelly, Shirley Wold.  Not Shown: Fusako Matsushima, Penny Pralle, Peggy Matis, Marlene Webster, Barbara Tomlinson, Sheree Manly, Amy Beard


Men's 3rd place: Southwest – Phoenix, Arizona

Front Row: Tom Hauser, Jim Allen, Roy Sajonia, Herb Kaufman.  Back Row: Kenneth Brown, Lloyd Newlands, Jerry Anthony.  Not Shown: Robert Dice, Terry Berkley.


Men's 4th place: Hawaii – Kailua, Hawaii  

Robert Babyack, Ben Borth, Paul Botts, Steve Drake.  Not Shown: Paul Tomar, David Bello, Timothy Nations, Christopher Kelley, Gene Ching, Robert Nemechek, Ronald Beers.



Women’s Finals
Beaverton, Oregon defeated San Leandro, California, 2-1

Men’s Finals
Warwick, Rhode Island defeated St. Petersburg, Florida, 2-1

Women’s Semifinals
San Leandro, California defeated Wilmington, Delaware, 2-1
Beaverton, Oregon defeated Fountain Valley, California, 2-1

3rd place match:
Fountain Valley, California defeated Wilmington, Delaware 2-1

Men’s Semifinals
Warwick, Rhode Island defeated Kailua, Hawaii, 2-1
St. Petersburg, Florida defeated Phoenix, Arizona, 2-1

3rd place match:
Phoenix, Arizona defeated Kailua, Hawaii, 2-1



Back in the Swing of Things

Bill is Back!© Tammye Canada Photo

Two years ago, Andy Yates, with the Middle States Section, was given some devastating news.  After falling out of a thirty-foot tree and suffering 5 cracked vertebrae, doctors told Andy that he would never walk again.  Andy refused to accept this dismal fate, and after some rehabbing, he is miraculously back on the tennis courts only two years after his accident.  His teammates appropriately dubbed him the “energizer bunny” for his speedy recovery and eagerness to get back in the action.

It is also great having Bill DeBaun back at Nationals representing the Missouri Valley Men.  After winning the 4.5 Adult National Championship in 2001, Bill has struggled through hip and rotator cuff surgeries.  With tennis being a big part of Bill’s life, the three-year absence from tennis was almost unbearable.  The smile on Bill’s face alone shows how happy he is to be playing competitive tennis once again.     

A Special Friendship

Nancy and Judianne Have Formed a Special Bond© Tammye Canada Photo

Southern California teammates Nancy Fussell and Judianne Kelly share a special bond.  Judianne holds 18 Adult and 4 Senior National Badminton Titles.  Nancy’s daughter, Tracy, was also a great badminton player and faced off against Judianne multiple times in the 80s.  As the number one ranked junior player, Tracy was aspiring to play in the 1992 Olympics.  Unfortunately, Tracy’s life was shortened far to quickly in a car accident.  Eerie enough, Judianne was in a car accident the same day as Tracy’s tragic crash.  In fact, Judianne, who was shaken up at the time, remembers being consoled by Tracy that same night at one of their badminton tournaments.  Although Nancy and Judianne were not acquainted with each other at the time, Nancy recognized Judianne years later and they have been close friends ever since.  In fact, if you were cruising the streets of downtown Palm Springs on Thursday night, you may have heard them singing “What the World Needs Now is Love” at a local karaoke bar. 



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Saturday, October 14

Day 2 is underway at the 4.0 Senior National Championships at the Doral Desert Princess Resort in Palm Springs.  The warm and sunny morning was followed by a cool and drizzly afternoon, but fortunately the hard rains never came.    

Test Drive a Chrysler for a Chance to Win a Cool Gift Package From Head
That’s right.  All participants who choose to test drive a brand new Chrysler car will be entered into a drawing to win a cool Head gift package worth over $500.  The package includes a selection of different Head racquets, bags, and wristbands.  The USTA is excited to have Chrysler and Penn sponsoring these National Championships.

Players are eager to sign up to drive a brand new Chrysler and win a great Head package © Tammye Canada Photo


“Don’t Get Hurt!”

Don and Robin are Back After Some Tough Injuries© Tammye Canada Photo

The Northern Men from St. Paul, Minnesota, all have plenty of experience playing in the National Championships, though they have never made it to the semifinals.  They hope to change that this year, and for Don Smith and Robin Eggum, this weekend could not have come any sooner.  A week before the 2004 National Championships, Robin Eggum found out that he would need rotator cuff surgery, making him a last minute scratch from the tournament.  Two years later, Robin is back and fully rehabbed.  His doubles teammate Don Smith also had some recent injury woes, forcing him to miss last year’s National Championships.  A Vietnam War Veteran, Don had complications from an old war wound in his right arm, but Don is back and the arm feels better than ever.

Unlike the Northern Men, the Northern Women from Duluth, Minnesota cannot afford to have any last minute scratches from their roster.  Traveling with only six players, their motto is simple and appropriate, “Don’t get hurt.”  They had a bit of a scare when a desert cactus attacked team member Kris Teberg; lucky the trainers were able to fix her up and get her back on the court.   

The Northern Women From Duluth Minnesota© Tammye Canada Photo

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
The women from Raleigh, North Carolina, brought some support with them from down south.  The Raleigh 4.5 team is here serving as cheerleaders for their 4.0 peers; they were spotted on Friday and Saturday performing their own made up cheers and executing “the wave” around the courts.  After experiencing how much fun these 4.0 women have, it is easy to see why the 4.5 team made the long trip out to Southern California with them.  Their post match tradition of taking a round of cosmopolitan shots and their passion for dancing on tables during Friday’s dinner party not only proves that these girls are here to win, but that they will have the time of their lives trying.   

The Southern Women Have Made the Best of Their Time in Palm Springs© Tammye Canada Photo



Cliff Met Some of His Best Friends Through USA League Tennis© Tammye Canada Photo
Friendships Formed Through Tennis

 Cliff Bernstein, member of the Mid Atlantic team from Columbia, Maryland, is amazed to be playing in the USTA National Championships.  “This has just been such a miracle season.  We all knew each other from tennis but we didn’t start playing on the same team until this year.  It’s amazing how we have come together in our first year.”  Cliff praises USTA League Tennis for its ability to gather individuals with the same interest in tennis and to allow them to form bonding friendships.  “We have been traveling together, getting to know each other, and helping each other.  We have all become great friends, and this weekend we get the opportunity to represent the top players in our league.”    




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Friday, October 13

Superstitious individuals will tell you that Friday the 13th is a day on the calendar to be dreaded.  Yet, Friday turned out to be a beautiful day in Palm Springs.  With temperatures in the low 80s and a slight breeze, players could not ask for better conditions.  However, all of you superstitious ones out there should keep your fingers crossed, as reports indicate a 40% chance of rain tomorrow.  Rain or shine, the wives of the Eastern Men’s team have to be a bit jealous that their husbands are enjoying tennis in the sun.  In Buffalo, there was a huge snow storm today, causing Jon Nichols’ wife to shovel snow while Tim VanDomelen’s wife dealt with power outages. 

Fun in the Sun for the Eastern Men... while the wives are home shoveling© Tammye Canada Photo


High School Reunion
If you are a tennis fan living near Rockford, Illinois, then you have probably heard the name Steve Vee.  Steve is a tennis coach for Rock Valley Junior College, where he has won 3 National Championships, landing him in the Men’s and Women’s Tennis Hall of Fame.  While representing the Midwest Section in the 2000 National Championships, Steve encountered a couple familiar faces: Tom and Jim Reber.  As teenagers, all three attended Mankato High School in Minnesota.  Surprisingly, all three players were playing for different sections, and had no clue that they would all be meeting up.  Coincidentally, this year, Steve and Tom are both back.  Steve is playing for the Midwest section and Tom is here with the Pacific Northwest team.  Though not playing, Jim Reber is here this weekend to support his brother and friend.

Tom Reber Serves One Up for the Tacoma Team© Tammye Canada Photo

Boomers with Backhands
Twenty years ago, Karen Peak and Bonnie Kahn played together in the 4.0 Adult National Championships.  After reciting an inspirational pep talk regarding a need to return to the National Championships, Karen was able to pump up her teammates and motivate the Midwest women to make it this far.  Teammate Judith Pilarski, who teaches Kindergarten at Canterbury School in Fort Wayne, Indiana, had trouble convincing her student’s parents that she was actually going to be playing in the National Championships; she even had to wear her sectional USTA shirt to prove it!  After receiving the great news, the whole entire school supported Judith.  They threw her a send-off party with a cake and banner and the teachers all pitched in to give her a useful gift, a tennis ball can filled with cash.  While most of the players on this team are here with having a good time as their number one priority, don’t expect that attitude from Sandy Hayes.  A big Detroit Tigers fan, Sandy brings a Ty Cobb type approach to the court.  “I’m not here to have fun, I’m here to win.  We need to have the mind-set that when we get on that court, we are going to kick butt.”  Needless to say, opponents are going to have to bring their “A game” when facing Sandy and the rest of the Midwest women.

Lon and Bob are Back for the Fifth Time in Six Years© Tammye Canada Photo


Secrets to Success
Every year, Lon McDonald and Bob Ewing make sure to keep their schedules free during the month of October.  That’s because they have made it to the National Championships five of the last six years!  Don’t acknowledge luck for this accomplishment; instead, credit Captain Bob Ewing.  Bob’s secret to success is to match up the right teams early in the year.  “Each team needs a setup guy and a put away guy.  Once we match our teams up, we can only play with our partner.  There’s no switching team’s for fun or to simply change it up for the day.  If someone’s partner is sick that day, then neither of them plays.”  By doing this, the Intermountain Men have become very familiar with their partners.  When asked about any other keys to success, Bob jokingly stated, “we need to stop getting older.”

Wild Dallas
The women from Dallas, Texas have double meaning behind their team name.  Known as “Wild Dallas”, these women were wild cards going into sectionals and the semi finals.  As wild cards, their opponents gave them the name “Wild Dallas”.  Their team name also seems appropriate as it matches their personality.  “We are wild cards and we love to party.”  Look for them to be dancing tonight at the USTA dinner and party.

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