USTA New England Announces
League Captains of the Year
James Maimonis, Manager, Media & Communications | June 19, 2019
WESTBOROUGH, MA- USTA League Captains are dedicated. They are passionate. They love tennis and savor the unforgettable moments that come with it with their closest friends, family and teammates. New England boasts more than 2,000 League Captains annually, many of whom are revered in the local tennis community.
Of those 2,000+ leaders, USTA New England has selected one male and one female who have gone above and beyond for their teams and growing league tennis in New England. Katie Werchadlo, of Scituate, RI, and Doug Presley, of Westport, CT, have been named the 2018 Male and Female Captains of the Year.
“On behalf of USTA New England and the USTA League program, I am thrilled to congratulate Katie and Doug as 2018 Captains of the Year. It is an honor for these two to be selected from this special group, and we thank them for their services to tennis,” said Heather Anastos, USTA New England Director of Competitive Tennis.ADVERTISEMENT
The Captains of the Year were selected as part of a Captain Appreciation Initiative that began in 2018 at the local league level. League players nominated their “Captains of the League,” which were then filtered through Local League Committees and ultimately through the USTA New England League Committee.
Learn more about Katie and Doug below:
Where is your home club?
Katie: Rally Point Racquet Club in Smithfield (Greenville), RI
Doug: Kings Highway Tennis Club, Darien, CT
How did your tennis background help you in becoming a captain?
Katie: I grew up playing tennis. My entire family plays and my uncle was a head pro at Rally Point for many years. I took time off during college and came back to the game in 2015. I have been captaining since 2016 and have captained 23 teams during that time, nine during the 2019 year. I first wanted to become a captain because my mother had captained for many years and I loved attending all her matches as a kid and being the team mascot. When I came back to the game in 2015, I played for one year and decided I wanted to captain the following year. I had a nice group of friends that I'd made that were driven to win and I love the organizing and strategizing of creating lineups, so it just made sense.
Doug: Our town of Westport, CT is home to the Westport Whalers (Men’s 4.0 Adult team). This team originated long before USTA assumed responsibility for league tennis in the US, dating back to the 70s in the old Volvo years! I joined the Whalers in the 80s when the league was Volvo. As a result, I believe that the Whalers are the oldest, continuous team in New England! In 2001, I became the 4th captain of the Whalers when the incumbent retired and moved south to warmth and outdoor tennis all year long. That year I moved our team to the friendly confines of Kings Highway Tennis Club in nearby Darien and proceeded to grow our team. Over the years we expanded into many of the men’s venues that USTA New England offers.
What is your most notable accomplishment as a captain?
Katie: My notable accomplishments are:
- I captained the Men’s 3.0 18 & Over team to Nationals in 2017
- That year, my 6.0 18 & Over team also finished 2nd place by a super tiebreak loss
- In 2018, my 6.0 18 & Over team advanced to Nationals after just missing it the previous year, and my Women’s 3.0 18 & Over team missed out on nationals by an individual position, a heart-breaking loss after beating the team that advanced 4-1 at Sectionals
- My 6.0 18 & Over team is attending Sectionals for our third year in a row this July, and my 7.0 18 & Over team is off to Districts for the third year in a row. I have taken on a 6.0 55 & Over team this year, a fierce group of ladies (many of whom play for my 18 & Over teams) and they are off to Sectionals in July as well.
Doug: Our stable of five teams share their rosters and have become affectionately known as ‘WhalerNation.’ Our teams practice together all year with Kings Highway’s excellent pros. Also, much of the roster skis and we travel to the Alps and Rocky’s every year together. Promoting WhalerNation as ‘our’ teams (not mine), and the yearlong commitment, have been key to WhalerNation’s success over the years. Last year, we celebrated 50 postseason appearances we have attended since 2001. That is a remarkable run of success, but also is our nemesis at times. We always have at least two teams in the postseason, and on at least one occasion, have all the teams competing on four consecutive weekends.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being a captain?
Katie: For me, the most rewarding aspect of being a captain is being able to bring together a group of people and create a team of people that are all in it together. People show up and play and leave, but to have people that show up to support their teammates when they aren't scheduled and who are so dedicated is special. They never give up and they strive for their best because they know their teammates are depending on them.
It’s also creating a group that constantly lifts each other up. Year after year I am amazed by the wonderful people on my teams and how they treat each other with encouragement and support. Seeing that dynamic and comradeship and the lasting friendships that are formed, really make it all worthwhile for me. I also found it to be a great honor to be able to captain each of my parents to a national championship, my dad on the men’s 3.0 18 & Over in 2017 and my mother on the 6.0 18 & Over Mixed in 2018.
Doug: The most rewarding part of captaining is sharing the camaraderie that can be created amongst the players. And, it is no coincidence that the development of this camaraderie is also the key to success for a captain. Gaining the commitment by the roster to the success of the team and being available to play in most matches is core for an aspiring captain. There’s a lot of wisdom in the theory that there is no ‘I’ in team!
What has been your favorite League memory thus far?
Katie: My single most favorite memory is from 18 & Over Mixed Nationals in 2018. Our team was plagued with injuries and everyone was a warrior. We were taped and braced and bandaged but man did we give it all we had. That was the most special team I ever captained, and it will forever have given me such an amazing honor. The best part was being able to have my mom on the team with me and seeing her win at Nationals really meant the world to me, I was so proud, I couldn't hold back the waterworks. After two ACL surgeries (from tennis), she went out there and rocked it at 18 & Over and got her first Nationals win. She's a special lady and she got me into captaining, so I owe it all to her!
Doug: Without a doubt the most memorable event was competing at the Nationals in 2013 at Indian Wells. It was a great venue and great tennis. I can’t wait to make it back, this time to Florida. This year, we already have two teams (Seniors and 40 & Over) competing in August.
What does this Captain of the Year honor mean to you?
Katie: The recognition of Captain of the Year is really an honor. I enjoy what I do so much, but to be recognized for it is just the icing on the cake. I thank all my players for taking part in my teams and giving me the privilege of captaining such wonderful people, teammates and friends. I look forward to many, many more seasons with all of them.
Doug: It is a great honor to know that my teammates took the time to vote for me. It was a vote for WhalerNation!