USTA Missouri Teams Advance to Section Championships
Several USTA Missouri teams have earned advancement to the USTA Missouri Valley League Section Championships, and one squad has already punched their ticket to the 2023 USTA National Championships.
As districts conclude and teams prepare for their next stage of competition, USTA Missouri is providing a roundup of who has advanced thus far and where they’ll be playing next. Congratulations to the following teams, and best of luck to all players representing USTA Missouri at the Section Championships!
18 & Over
Debbie Pell / 3.5 Women / August 18-20 / Oklahoma City
Josh Bartram / 3.5 Men / August 18-20 / Oklahoma City
Katie Clouse / 4.0 Women / August 4-6 / St. Louis
Hee-Sun Kim / 7.0 Mixed / September 8-10 / Topeka
Robert “R.B.” Jones / 8.0 Mixed / September 8-10 / Topeka
40 & Over
Lori Hunt / 3.0 Women / August 25-27 / Tulsa
Debbie Pell / 3.5 Women / August 25-27 / Topeka
Huong Doan / 4.0 Women / August 25-27 / Tulsa
Hee-Sun Kim / 7.0 Mixed / September 22-24 / Omaha
Mona Palmer / 8.0 Mixed / September 22-24 / Omaha
55 & Over
Lori Young / 7.0 Women / August 4-6 / St. Louis
Tracy Nicholas / 8.0 Women / August 18-20 / Oklahoma City
In addition to the listed teams competing at the Section Championships, Ann Vogel’s 65 & Over 7.0 women’s team captured the Section Invitational on July 14-16 in Overland Park, Kansas. The team will represent USTA Missouri and USTA Missouri Valley at the USTA League 65 & Over Invitational on January 26-28, 2024 in Surprise, Arizona.
“I’ve talked to a few of them, and they are thrilled,” said Leslie Echols, USTA Missouri executive director. “A lot of them feel this sense of accomplishment. It’s something they have wanted for a long time. It’s rewarding. A lot of those ladies have been playing tennis a long time. This is something they’ve always dreamed of.”
Echols said Vogel — who volunteers as the USTA Missouri Awards Chairwoman — has spent a couple years architecting her 7.0 women’s team to prepare the squad for this point. With no other 65+ team in the district to compete against, Vogel keeps her team sharp by traveling to tournaments and gaining match experience.
“It really speaks to her good captaining,” Echols said. “Ann has gone out of her way and above and beyond to find opportunities to prepare the team for that event. And it’s paid off. I know how much work Ann has put into building that team and preparing them. It’s just awesome.”
Lori Hunt’s 40+ 3.0 women’s team is the first one in that age group and division from USTA Missouri to progress to the Section Championships. Debbie Pell’s 18+ 3.5 women’s team from Springfield had a great battle at districts with a Columbia-based opponent in July. Columbia won the first round, but Pell’s team won the second and third rounds to advance.
“I’m glad it was really competitive,” Echols said. “That just speaks really highly of our district. It’s been good, competitive tennis in both areas. It’s great to see.”
The USTA Missouri men’s leagues continue to grow, and Echols is optimistic more men’s squads will be ready to compete at the Section Championships next year as roster sizes increase. The Cooper Tennis Complex in Springfield will also play host to the Mixed 55 & Over Invitational for 6.0, 7.0, 8.0 and 9.0 teams. That event is slated for November 10-12.