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National Championship Bound Again and Again

March 26, 2009 10:43 AM
Captain in Charge
John Smith looking on

By Jeff Seals

There must be something in the waters of the state of Maryland this year. The Mid-Atlantic men have found great success in 2008, as the 18-member squad has numerous players participating in multiple USTA League presented by Chrysler National Championships around the country in a two-month time frame.

The men from Howard County, which is near Baltimore, just won the title of the USTA League Adult 3.0 National Championships held in Tucson, Ariz., last month and are now aiming for the 3.0 senior title in Las Vegas on Halloween weekend.

If you think the team is finished after those two events, think again. They still have to play in the 6.0 mixed and 6.0 senior mixed national tournaments in Orlando on Thanksgiving weekend.

The success isn’t new to captain Jon Smith, who has been competing and leading teams since 1996. Smith began playing tennis in Tallahassee, Fla., and led four squads to the national championships in 1998 picking up two fourth-place finishes.

There are still some players competing today that have ties to Smith from his Florida days. The 3.0 men’s team competing in Las Vegas this weekend has a couple of players that were members of Smith’s squads back in the 90s.

Smith wound up moving up to Maryland and took his tennis success with him. He and co-captain James Dorf recruit heavily out of Howard and Montgomery Counties, which are the two most dominant areas for tennis in the Old Line State especially on the senior level. To show how strong the region is, the Mid-Atlantic 3.0 women’s team is from the Baltimore area as well.

While most teams have their own league or tennis facility, the Mid-Atlantic men have to do it a little bit differently. The team has no true “home” facility as tennis in Maryland is set up on the county levels. Technically, the men play out of the Columbia Association which is the largest home owner’s association in the country. They play at numerous facilities throughout Howard County.

With the squad not having a true home, it can be said that they are always playing on the road. So playing in Tucson, Las Vegas and Orlando should be second nature for the Maryland men.

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