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Northern California


December 11, 2018


USTA Northern California is proud to present the Awards Celebrating Excellence in Service (ACES), honoring the section’s best organizations, volunteers and players for their outstanding achievements and service to the game of tennis for 2018.


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Sunday, February 10, 2019

11:00 AM - 12:00 NOON
Welcome Reception

12:00 NOON - 2:00 PM
Luncheon & Awards Presentation

Chateau Hall at the Pleasant Hill Senior Center

233 Gregory Lane
Pleasant Hill, California 94523


President's Awards

The Betty Cookson Lifetime Achievement Award

Don Jacobus

Don began his lifetime love of tennis as a child when he hit his first tennis ball, during his first lesson as a new member of the Berkeley Tennis Club. Don was a ranked junior and played tennis for the University of Pacific. ADVERTISEMENT He was inducted into the Pacific Tiger Hall of Fame in 2001 as a member of one of the best ever teams, the 1950 tennis team, ranked 3rd in the country. After returning from the service, Don volunteered at the Pacific Coast Tournament, eventually becoming the tournament director for many years. He got to know all of the players, Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King, and Rosie Casals. Don won California State Doubles Championship twice with the late Jim McManus, beating Cliff Mayne, Hugh Ditzler, and Whitney Reed. Twice president of the Berkeley Tennis Club and twice president of the USTA NorCal Board of Directors, Don rarely if ever missed a board meeting in 40 years. Described as a diplomat, Don preferred to work with fellow board members one-on-one, by gaining consensus. For 20 years, Don served on national committees including the Executive Committee, Finance Committee, and the Committee of Management. He recalls his fondest memories of USTA, working and associating with the volunteers who had a common interest in bettering and promoting the game of tennis. He was Inducted into USTA NorCal Hall of Fame in 1998. Don was recognized at the 2012 ACES, Awards Celebrating Excellence in Service, for his Lifetime Achievements in tennis by Michael Cook, President of the Board.


The Community Tennis ACES

Outstanding Community Tennis Volunteer
Diane Brooks

A former Tennis Service Representative (TSR) for the USTA NorCal Section, Diane, works predominantly with lower income Hispanic families in the Half Moon Bay Area. The children she works with range in age from 5-12 years old. Diane runs two youth programs in the Half Moon Bay area which are the Coastside Children’s program and one out of the Dolphin Club. As a TSR between 2011 and 2015, Diane was already involved in the NorCal community, bringing tennis to communities who otherwise wouldn’t have access to it. While working as a TSR, Diane realized that there weren’t any after-school program in the Half Moon Bay area. She started to volunteer and created these programs after she retired from the TSR position.

She has been involved with Coastside Children’s Programs (includes three sites: El Granada Elementary School, Farallone View Elementary School, and Hatch Elementary School), and Dolphin Club for three years, and has worked tirelessly to expand her reach. Diane has been able to expose over 300 kids to this great game. On top of the two programs that she has spearheaded, Diane is also involved with the Colony Club at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay and has also organized a Middle School Tennis Day at Half Moon Bay High School for the second year in a row. Thanks to a partnership with the Coastside Tennis Association, she was able to create a complete pathway from 10 and Under play, all the way to high school.


Outstanding Community Tennis Association
San Francisco Parks & Recreation

The system includes more than 25 full-complex recreation centers including 147 tennis courts.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s Tennis & Learning Center (TLC) program was designed in 2014 to improve outcomes for underserved youth by promoting academic achievement, health and wellness, and social/emotional development, through the sport of tennis.

These courts accommodate classes, camps, clinics, lessons and leagues for all ages and skill levels. RPD has also fielded many USTA League teams and since 1998, 209 of their teams have gone on to a league championship event. In 2018, RPD fielded teams in the following categories: Combo Doubles, 18-39 Team Singles, Mixed 18 & Over, Adult 55 & Over, Adult 18 & Over, Adult 65 & Over, Adult 40 & Over, Adult 18-39 League, and Mixed 40 & Over.

TLC is currently operating in three underserved San Francisco communities and serving 25 K-5th graders each, TLC will open an additional two neighborhood sites over the next two years before opening a site serving middle school youth at the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center. For the past 2.5 years, RPD’s TLC sites have run USTA NorCal’s H.I.T.S. program and for the first time in 2018, they implemented the follow-up Red Ball Junior Team Tennis program. 

In partnership with the Tennis Coalition of San Francisco, SFRPD is planning a complete $26.3M renovation of the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center (GGPTC). Once GGPTC is reopened in 2020, TLC students from these neighborhood sites will come during middle school for continued academic support and mentorship, and advanced tennis development. 


NJTL Chapter of the Year
Silicon Valley Boys and Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Silicon Valley is an after-school and summer enrichment program that serves 3,000 youth annually in 13 Clubhouses across Santa Clara County. Boys & Girls Club of SV has five core program areas which are supported by a robust technology infrastructure and programming at all sites: Character & Leadership Development, Education & Career Development, Arts & Cultural Enrichment, Health & Life Skills, Sports, Fitness & Social Recreation. All 13 sites provide tennis programs to at-risk youth. Boys and Girls Clubs of SV runs H.I.T.S. and H.I.T.S. Red Ball JTT at all 13 of their chapters in the greater San Jose area with a total of 150 kids. They also run their own in-house junior tournaments throughout the year. The Boys and Girls Club SV was also the recipient of the USTA Foundation Net Generation Grant during the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic.


The Diversity ACES

Diversity & Inclusion Service Awards
Center for Fathers and Families

Recognition of a program or organization for lifelong service and/or groundbreaking service and for having made a significant impact on the lives of others in the multicultural, LGBT and people with disabilities tennis communities.

Founded in 1994, CFF’s mission is to promote greater involvement of fathers and families. Their vision is to reverse the trend of absentee fathers. As their program grows, they also strive to equip each member of the family with skills, information, and resources necessary to promote a strong family life, which in turn promotes stronger, healthier communities. They’ve expanded their programs to reach over 2,500 low-income children and families every school day with homework assistance, enrichment activities, recreation, education, and health and wellness.

USTA NorCal programming has been included in their health and wellness curriculum for over 5 years as part of their MASTERS sports program that offers youth tennis program through at 15 school sites. Students participate in red ball HITS 1&2 throughout the year and in a tennis league in summer. Currently they service 350 students in the HITS Tennis program yearly and have also included HITS Red Ball, Tennis Jamborees, and the NJTL/ACES Curriculum.  Center for Fathers & Families is an invaluable partner to our section.

Through CFF’s partnership with USTA, they were able to send a child to Florida for a tournament. This meant a lot to their organization because this child comes from a low-income, drug-infested neighborhood. Due to not having the resources, this child did not have the opportunity to travel outside of California. CFF prides themselves on being able to expose their children to different sports outside of the typical sports that most underprivileged children are funneled into.


Diversity & Inclusion Trailblazer Award
Martha Ehrenfeld

When Martha first moved to San Francisco, she walked over to the Golden Gate Park Tennis Center, hoping to find new ways to connect in her new city. There was a tournament going on with a different twist that she just couldn't put her finger on it. She went up to the tournament desk to find out what was going on and they said, "This is a Gay and Lesbian Tennis Federation tournament." Martha joined the club, captained teams and served on the board creating the Women's Director Officer’s position. She was the first female volunteer on the USTA Diversity and Inclusion committee when NorCal staff and GLTF member Fred Allemann recommended her. Martha also served on the Federation of Gay Games board and is the Co-Chair of the Tennis Coalition of San Francisco, which is spearheading the renovation of the GGP Tennis Center.


Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award
Roseville Community Tennis Association

Recognition of an individual, program for proven significant and outstanding leadership in the coaching, mentoring and/or volunteerism in the multicultural, LGBT and/or people with disabilities tennis communities.

Roseville CTA, run by Stevan Fernandes, is a community tennis organization that offers affordable tennis training to the students of that Roseville and Folsom area. Roseville CTA has a large Indian population participating in their programs. USTA Programs offered are RSR, HITS, HITS Red Ball, and Team Challenges.

Stevan is interested in becoming a tennis director in order to host USTA tournaments in his area. Stevan currently runs the program by himself, and has over 60 children! He is an effective partner to USTA as he is always willing to run programs and sees the benefit to his organization, and most importantly, his students. The highlight of their program was the opportunity to take a delegation of children to the NorCal’s Kids Day at Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic and getting to enjoy the day’s matches.   


The Wheelchair ACES

Outstanding Wheelchair Volunteer
Zachary Lamm

Zachary began volunteering with the South Bay Smash Wheelchair Tennis Team his sophomore year for mandatory service hours for his high school. However, he enjoyed hitting with the players so much that he continued to volunteer throughout his sophomore and junior years. In addition to his regular weekend volunteering, Zachary has volunteered at the annual Up-Down Tournament (where a wheelchair tennis player teams up with a stand up player) for the past two years. Zachary is looking forward to the beginning of the wheelchair tennis season.

Zachary has been a great asset to South Bay Smash due to his playing ability and he has learned to adjust his game to the level of wheelchair player that he rallies with. This has helped the wheelchair players tremendously in improving their game and challenging them to become better players. The South Bay Smash team really appreciates having him on the team. 


Ned Mansfield Memorial Award
Marcus Oden

Marcus became a double leg amputee as a child due to an accident involving a train, but overcame the challenge and today is actually nicknamed “The Train” by his wheelchair basketball colleagues due to his intimidating presence rolling down the court.

Marcus is a multi-sport athlete competing on three wheelchair sport travel teams, The Sacramento Rollin Kings (basketball), The San Francisco Wheelchair Softball Giants (Softball) and our NorCal Wheelchair Tennis Team. Marcus has consistently made tennis practice for two years straight, traveled to St. Louis Missouri, Mc Donough Georgia, Fresno and San Jose, CA, and Grand Rapids, Michigan for Wheelchair Tennis Tournaments. Marcus did all that while also doing Wheelchair Tennis Demonstrations at USTA Challenger Events. 


Adult Tournament ACES

Most Outstanding Senior Tournament
Marin Championships

The Marin Championships is going into its 43rd year in 2019. Mill valley Tennis Club has been the host and principal site since it started. The tournament offers age categories 30-75 and awards over $25,000 in prize money. A Category 2 National tournament, it has almost 300 entrants each year from around the country. The tournament wouldn’t be successful without the support of the Board, staff and members of Mill Valley Tennis Club, the tireless volunteers and the satellite sites.


Most Outstanding NTRP Tournament
Central Cal NTRP - Jason Johnson

The Central Cal NTRP took place on Memorial Day weekend.  Players commented about how hospitable Sutter Lawn Tennis Club and tournament director Jason Johnson are.  The players also enjoyed the amenities provided by the tournament such as the t-shirt and dinner and entertainment.  


Adult Tournament Volunteer of the Year
Ray Rockwell

Ray Rockwell joined the Adult Tournament Committee in January of 2018.  Since he has joined the Adult Tournament Committee, he has spent time trying to grow adult tournaments.  Some of his 2018 accomplishments include being the overall North captain of the North South Senior Challenge Cup and being on some of the Adult Tournament sub-committees.


Adult Tournament Director of the Year
Jason Johnson

Jason is the Manager/Tennis Director/Teaching Pro of the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club. He has served as a teaching Pro for the last 25 years of his career, acting Tennis Director for the last 17 years and General Manager for the last 4 years. Fair to say Jason wears many different hats and is honored to be a recipient for the Ace Awards.


The Umpire ACES

Umpire of the Year
Paul De Leon


Rookie Umpire of the Year
Fred Tian

Fred started tennis officiating in 2017 and enjoyed everything about it. Fred has officiated at all levels of USTA matches from juniors, adults, to the pro circuit level. Fred is really proud to be a part of USTA Nor Cal and is always ready to serve the tennis community.


Adult Leagues ACES

Service to Leagues
Leslie Johnson

Leslie got involved with Adult League in 2007, as a way to be a part of such a good organization. She has been a member of the Adult League Committee for nine years, and had been responsible for the Adult League revenue budget for 8 years. Leslie has also been a USTA Adult League captain and player for 13 years. She has been teaching tennis to kids for seven years at San Jose Swim & Racquet Club and at San Jose schools. She is extremely passionate about tennis and the work that is being done to grow the sport.


League Volunteer of the Year
Ben Szeto

Ben has been on the GLTF board for three years as the Vice President and stepped down to focus on the Beginners Tennis Program. In his first year as Vice President, he developed the Beginners Tennis program because he saw a need to grow the organization from the bottom up.  

He developed the 2.5 Program in March 2015 with the start of a Tennis Academy and a beginners’ level clinic with a local tennis pro. It led to creating two 5.5 Combo teams that competed in the USTA NorCal league. The program had three Adult 18 & Over 2.5 teams, twp 40 & Over 2.5 Men’s teams, and three 5.5 Combo teams.  

At the end of 2018, GLTF counted 45 male and 16 female players at the 2.5 level. This program has significantly increased membership and brought in players to USTA. This year, eight of the women and 11 of the men have been rated 3.0. Ben will be returning to the GLTF board as Vice President in 2019.  


League Facilities of the Year, Co-Awardees
Copper River Country Club

The Tennis Centre at Copper River features 15 LED lighted courts (13 hard courts and two clay courts) and a member lounge. The beautiful center court is a frequent venue for USTA NorCal League events and Junior tournaments as well as being part of the USTA Challenger Tour. The club offers a full schedule of clinics and private instruction for the entire family.

Sierra Sport Racquet Club

The Sierra Sport Racquet Club offers tennis both day and night thanks to 20 of their 22 courts that are lighted. They also have seasonal grass courts that serve as a game field for their tennis and sports camps. Sierra Sport and Racquet Club offers private and group lessons for all ages and levels. 


Local League Area Coordinator of the Year
Juliet Graham

Juliet has volunteered working tournaments for about five years when the current Adult League Manager, Lynn Losande asked her to be the Local Area Coordinator for the men of Sacramento and all players for the North Counties. She has been playing tennis since the Adult 18+ season in 2010 and joined Rio Del Oro in 2011. Juliet has been a captain 18 times since. A very active volunteer for USTA NorCal, Juliet also helps during the Adult League District and Sectional Championships. She is a player, volunteer and works with USTA NorCal. 

Adult League Captains of the Year

Daytime                             Mitsy Lonie

Diablo North                     Stephanie Buhalis

Diablo South                     Harish Natarajan

East Bay                             Tuan Khong

South Bay                          Alex Mandrusov

Mid Peninsula                   Jason T Lee

Lower Peninsula               Kathy Serksnis

Monterey Bay                   Jennifer Perez

North Counties                 Heidi Gonzales

Napa/Solano                     Warren Valdeabella

Reno/Tahoe                      Jean Van Well

Sacramento                      Scott Hinman

Marin                                 Francie Burkhard

Sonoma/Mendocino       Shane Grevin

Fresno                               Gina Elsea

San Francisco                   Tammy Tran

Upper Peninsula              Tami Adachi


Should you have any questions, contact John Franco




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