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Latest News from 2.5 Adult National Championship

Latest News from the 2003 USA League Tennis 2.5 Adult National Championships presented by Lincoln

By Jeff Heckelman


Click here for the photo gallery

Sunday, October 5, 2003


Caribbean Teams Overcome Tough Challenges, Win Both Titles

The men's and women's teams representing the USTA Caribbean Section took both 

Caribbean captain Elizabeth O'Neill celebrates with her teammates after winning the deciding match in the finals.
titles at the 2003 2.5 USA League Tennis National Championships presented by Lincoln in Palm Springs, Calif.  Neither victory came easy, however.  The Caribbean women's team (San Juan, Puerto Rico) overcame tough challenges from Midwest (Charleston, W.V.) in the semifinals and Northern California (Los Gatos, Calif.) in the finals.  The Caribbean men's team (San Juan, Puerto Rico) fought hard to get past Southern (Atlanta, Ga.) in the semifinals and Florida (Gainesville, Fla.) in the finals. 

All four matches played by the Caribbean teams were won 2-1.  In the men's semifinals, Atlanta's Steve Devlin defeated Caribbean's top singles player, David Roldan, 6-1, 6-3, to give Southern an early lead.  But the Caribbean men held strong, taking both doubles matches in deciding third set tie-breaks, by scores of 10-5 and 13-11, the latter being the clinching match, a thriller won by Alberto Valdez and Pablo Quinones over Bill Ritter and Bill Sissell, 6-2, 5-7, 1-0 (13-11).

The Caribbean women's team also won a tough semifinal match, with Arlene Gardon and Brenda Del Valle coming from behind to take a third set tie-break over Charleston's Christi Smith and Kate Geis.  From there, the Caribbean ladies took on the team from Northern California.  After splitting the doubles matches, Caribbean captain Elizabeth O'Neill fought off a late charge by NorCal's Milada Senna, taking the match and the championship, 6-1, 7-5.

In the third place matches, the Southern men's team (Atlanta, Ga.) defeated Mid-Atlantic (Gaithersburg, Md.) in the day's only 3-0 match, while the Midwest women (Charleston, W.V.) defeated Texas (Amarillo, Texas) 2-1.





 2003 2.5 Adult Women's USA League Tennis

National Championships presented by Lincoln - Final Standings

Champions: Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Finalists: Northern California (Los Gatos, Calif.)
Third Place: Midwest (Charleston, W.V.)
Fourth Place: Texas (Amarillo, Texas)


2003 2.5 Adult Men's USA League Tennis

National Championships presented by Lincoln - Final Standings

Champions: Caribbean (San Juan, Puerto Rico)

Finalists: Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Third Place: Southern (Atlanta, Ga.)
Fourth Place: Mid Atlantic (Gaithersburg, Md.)

Caribbean Women - 2.5 Adult USA League Tennis National Champions (l-r: Coach Adrian Hernandez, Brenda Del Valle, Arlene Gardon, Elizabeth O'Neill, Maria Pagan, Sherly Pagan, Carolina Garriga, Yolanda Velez).


Caribbean Men - 2.5 Adult USA League Tennis National Champions (bottom, l-r: Rafael Castro, Jorge Lopez, Coach Xavier Monserrale, Pablo Quinones, Alberto Valdez De Jesus; top, l-r: Saul Rosado-Alejandro, Julio Aldunce, David Roldan).


Sunday's Results

Women's Finals

Caribbean def. Northern California 2-1

Women's Semifinals

Caribbean def. Midwest 2-1
Northern California def. Texas 2-1

Women's Third Place Match

Midwest def. Texas 2-1

Men's Finals

Caribbean def. Florida 2-1
Men's Semifinals

Caribbean def. Southern 2-1
Florida def. Mid Atlantic 2-1

Men's Third Place Match

Southern def. Mid Atlantic 3-0





Saturday, October 4, 2003


The Trunk Monkey Story

OK, here goes...it all started a few months ago, when the Midwest women's team from Charleston, W.V., were driving to Toledo, Ohio for the state championships.  With their captain, Melanie Schlarb, absent that weekend, the team realized on the way that they needed a team name. 

The Trunk Monkeys of Charleston, WV
Glancing on the side of the road, one team member noticed a number of signs that read "Come See the Trunk Monkeys" and "This Way for the Trunk Monkeys."  Confused as to what a Trunk Monkey could possibly be, the players decided the only logical conclusion was that the signs must be referring to themselves, directing drivers to come watch them play tennis.  Minutes later, team member Kate Geis found herself rummaging through the trunk of the car by way of the back seat -- admittedly looking rather monkey-like -- and the name stuck.  That's Kate leaning out of the trunk of the red convertible the ladies rented for their trip to Palm Springs.


Keeping Her Priorities Straight

Chris Huppin refused to let a silly thing like having a baby keep her away from the USA League Tennis National Champioships.  She played all season during her pregnancy, helping her Spokane, Wash., team advance all the way to the USTA Pacific Northwest Sectional Championships. At that point, Chris was eight months pregnant and was forced to call it a season.  She gave birth to her daughter just two weeks before Sectionals.  "I played in my mind from home," Chris says.  But being away from tennis and her teammates was too much for Chris, so when they advanced to the National Championships, Chris packed up her two-month-old, her two-year-old, her husband and her babysitter and brought them all to Palm Springs with her.  "I couldn't miss this," Chris said on Saturday.


A Quick Learner

She only took up tennis two years ago, but already Joyce Schroeder of Spokane, Wash. has found herself playing for a national championship.  While the pressure is intense, it's not nearly the biggest championship Joyce has competed for.  As part of the USA Gymnastics team back in 1968, Joyce competed at the Summer Olympics in Mexico City alongside Cathy Rigby.  "I couldn't do gymnastics forever, but I love playing tennis," Joyce says.  She started playing when her hometown club in Spokane built tennis courts and began offering lessons.  Though an elite athlete, Joyce said when she learned tennis she had to start at square one.  "Unfortunately, the skills don't transfer over," she says.  Still, her competitive spirit was evident during her match Saturday, as she and Pacific Northwest teammate Alison Delay fought hard in a tough loss to the Caribbean women's team.  



A Good Luck Charm Goes a Long Way

The term “good luck charm” takes on a whole new significance at the USA League Tennis National Championships, as teams take every precaution to ensure fate is on their side. 
The members of the Texas women's team from Amarillo show off their tattoos
Take the Southern California women, from Simi Valley, Calif., for example.  Their team name is “The Diamonds,” and though they may be strutting about with shiny gems hanging from their necks, their cover’s been blown.  Captain Lucile Mosier couldn’t quite scratch together the cash to equip her team with diamonds, but instead each player has a beautiful Swarovski crystal pendant.  “We pretend they’re diamonds,” Mosier said. They could have used the real thing Friday morning, as they fell to the Mid Atlantic by a single point, losing both doubles matches in tie-breaks, 11-9 and 10-8.

The Texas women, from Amarillo, have their own good luck charm – and they wear it proudly with every step they take.  Each member of the squad has two criss-crossed tennis racquets tattooed on her ankle.  They’re temporary, but don’t tell anyone!  “They got us to Nationals,” says captain Christi Bowling, “so we’re not going to abandon them now!”  Good thing they didn't, as the team went undefeated in round robin play, earning a berth in Sunday's semifinals.




Friday, October 3, 2003

Beautiful Palm Springs, Calif. serves as host for the 2.5 Adult USA League Tennis National Championships
Game On!

The 17 women’s teams and 12 men’s teams that gathered here in Palm Springs, Calif., for the 2.5 Adult USA League Tennis National Championships got things underway bright and early this morning.  With the Southern California mountains as their backdrop and windy skies above, the 2.5 Adults were eager to hit their first ball at the Riviera Resort and Racquet Club, which plays host to the event.



The Boys from Lakewood, CO


"Have Racquet, Will Travel"

The 2.5 men's team representing the USTA Intermountain Section brings new meaning to the term "veteran leadership."  The team is led by Captain Bradley Brehmer of Lakewood, Colo., and team member Jack McCaffery of Englewood, Colo., both of whom are 74 years old.  Asked why they continue to play USA League Tennis against much younger players, Jack said, "Because we can."  They both do take part in their fair share of senior teams ("We get around," says Bradley.").  But mostly, these guys just love to play.  As Jack says, "Have racquet, will travel."







The Midwest Men and their message to Roger

A Very Special Message

Captain Fred Harris' Midwest team from South Bend, Ind., only had one request as they posed for their team picture.  They wanted to send a special message to their good friend Roger Heise, manager of the South Bend Racquet Club, where the team plays.  Hopefully Roger will get the message, or his friends may not make it back home!




"The Divas" of Harrisburg, PA

Keeping "The Divas" Happy

It's not an easy job, but Captain April Gift of Harrisburg, Pa., manages to keep her group of tennis stars happy.  You see, "The Divas," representing the USTA Middle States Section, expect a gift from their captain each year, and it's up to April to keep from disappointing them.  This year, each player received a specialized USA League Tennis towel with her name embroidered on it (proudly displayed in their team photo).  "Towels one year, socks another year -- I like to keep them on their toes," April explained.




The Trunk Monkey in Action



Her Name is What??? 

So how does a nice woman like Kate Geis of Charleston, W.V., come to be known as "The Trunk Monkey," you ask? Check back on Saturday for the full story...

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