Seven New England Teams
Win Tri-Level Sectionals
James Maimonis, Communications and Engagement Coordinator | January 24, 2019
LUDLOW, MA- Tri-Level Sectionals, USTA New England’s only non-summer League Sectional Championship, takes place every year in January. This year, New England’s 44 best Tri-Level teams battled the snowy and icy driving conditions and competed from January 18-20 at Ludlow Tennis Club and Enfield Tennis Club. The winners now have the opportunity to play alongside some of the best pros in the world at the Tri-Level Championships in Indian Wells, CA in March.
Tri-Level League teams consist of two to four players with only one doubles position played each match. Teams competed at the 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 NTRP levels, with all but 3.0s advancing to the Championships.
In March, all six advancing teams will join forces to represent New England using the Tri-Level “Team” format.
Get to know the New England Sectional Champions:
3.0 Women (Non-advancing)
Marie Beaulieu captained her 3.0 team from Ludlow Tennis Club in Ludlow, MA to its first-ever Tri-Level Sectional Championship. Playing alongside longtime partner Carol Constant and USTA League opponent now turned teammate, Noreen Little, Beaulieu’s squad finally prevailed after falling short at Sectionals the past two years.
“You can only imagine how we felt this year. We were excited when we actually made the last point to win the match,” Beaulieu said.
The three friends who met playing tennis through their local Parks and Recreation Department went 3-0 through flight play, with each player winning two matches. The Ludlow team knocked off teams from Farmington Valley Racquet Club, Rally Point Racquet Club and NH Tri-Level en route to the title.
Co-captains Jackie Watt and Meg Pickering led their team, Chanterelles, out of the Woodlands Club in Falmouth, ME, to the Women’s 3.5 title. Watt and Pickering, along with Rhonda Green, competed last year at Sectionals but won just one of their four matches. This year, with the addition of Geanette Treadway and a more relaxed attitude, they were able to score a more positive result.
“We didn't put any pressure on ourselves and we truly enjoyed the whole experience. We had a lineup decided ahead of time, mostly based on the weather, and that took pressure off,” Pickering said. “I really feel that having gone to Sectionals the year before really helped us relax and play much more loosely. We just had so much fun together and laughed a lot. That was the best part of the whole weekend, and I think it was a major factor in winning.”
Chanterelles went 3-0 in flight play, defeating teams from the Edge at Burlington, Tennis Rhode Island and Longfellow Club. The wins didn’t come easy, as Pickering and Green played a three-set deciding match against the Edge, ultimately prevailing, 3-6, 6-4, 1-0. In the final, Watt and Green squared off against 3.5 NH Women, and just got the better of the duo, 7-6, 6-7, 1-0.
“When we won the championship final, Rhonda Green and I were literally jumping up and down and hugging we were so happy,” Watt said. “The last match vs. the New Hampshire team was the closest match I’ve ever played. It couldn’t have been any closer with only a couple points here or there determining the match winner.”
In addition to the tight competition, Watt also noted the exceptional sportsmanship she saw throughout the weekend.
“We played some of the nicest ladies I’ve played against and there wasn’t a single conflict or question on the court. I think the fact that we played the tournament during a pretty big storm helped to bring everyone together in support and appreciation of one another,” Watt said.
The dynamic duo of Captain Amy Albert and Courtney Marum took home their first ever Sectional title in the 4.0 division and will be advancing to their first National Championship. The team called Ball Busters, which plays out of Big Sky Fitness & Tennis in Farmington, CT, had a tough road to the final, but the chemistry between the longtime partners triumphed over the competition.
The duo lost its first match of the tournament, which happened to be the first match they ever lost together. From there, they buckled down and won their next three matches, including the decisive match against second-place finishers, 4.0 NH Women, 6-2, 6-2.
Ball Busters finished with an identical 3-1 match record as the New Hampshire team, and each lost just two sets, however the head to head victory propelled Albert and Marum to the top of the flight and onto the championship.
“Courtney and I play on an 18 & Over Women's USTA team and are very similar players and competitive people and thought we’d be a tough Tri-Level team. We have a really great chemistry on the court and can handle different types of play and personalities,” Albert said.
In the final, Albert and Marum defeated a team from Tennis Rhode Island, 6-1, 6-1, to capture the championship.
“It’s so exciting to advance,” Albert added. “I hear this is one of the best National events. We are both excited to play tennis, represent New England and get to take in as much of the tournament as possible.”
In the 4.5 Women’s division, it was the team of Captain Annick Gouin and partner Tracy-Lee Miller that came away victorious. The duo, which plays out of Pond View Racquet Club in Westerly, RI, was looking to avenge its loss from last year’s Sectional final.
Gouin and Miller went 2-0 in flight play without dropping a set to set up a finals rematch with last year’s champions, Down Right Smashing, out of Simsmore Tennis. This time around, the Pond View ladies got the better of the ladies from Simsmore, winning 6-3, 6-1.
“We knew we had a good shot at it again this year, and we were very happy to win the finals as it was a tough loss last year. We ended up having a schedule change due to the approaching winter storm, and we had to play three matches in a row to get the event completed on Saturday, so we were pretty tired by the end of the day,” Gouin said.
Chet Porowski captained his team from Keene Racquet Club in Keene, NH to an improbable 3.5 Sectional championship. Porowski, who played in his third Tri-Level Sectional in five years, brought on first-year teammates, Tom Bennett and Joseph Proulx, to help him capture his first title since 2015. Porowski recruited Bennett and Proulx after losing to them both in previous competition.
The New Hampshire men dropped their first match against a team out of Tennis Rhode Island. The men bounced back in match two against the Greendale Family Branch YMCA to win 7-5, 7-6. Due to the weather, two teammates headed home early, expecting their run had come to an end. So, with just a three-team flight, their fate would be determined by the winner of the Greendale/Tennis RI match, which followed.
A 6-4 5-7 1-0 win by Greendale forced a three-way tie, and with just two set losses to both their opponents’ three each, Porowski’s team advanced to Sunday’s final.
Bennett, who had already gone home, made the three-hour drive back to compete for his team on Sunday.
The duo got off to a slow start dropping the first set, 1-6. Then falling behind 1-4 in the second, something clicked and neither Porowski nor Bennett could miss, rallying their way to five straight games and the set, 6-4. In the third-set tiebreak, they kept the momentum going, winning easily, 10-1, to take home the title.
“Our team had a cliff hanger weekend and it was really an improbable win,” Porowski said.
The 4.0 Men’s championship team, led by Captain David Rajabiun and Andrew Chisholm, finished atop their flight to advance to the championship. The team out of Four Court Racquet & Fitness Club, went 3-0 in flight play, losing just one set. In the finals, the team squared off against a team from the Longfellow Club. Rajabuin and Chad Freadman earned the victory for Fore Court, winning 6-2, 7-5. Michael Korenbaum also earned a victory for Fore Court.
Team Great Scott, featuring Captain Scott Gale and Chris Scott, took home the 4.5 title, their second as a duo. Great Scott, which plays out of the Edge at South Burlington in South Burlington, VT, won its three-team flight (2-0) without dropping a set. The Vermonters defeated teams from the Tennis Club of Trumbull and Algonquin Indoor Tennis Center on their way to the championship.
“Our styles really complement each other. Chris can run anything down and always can be counted on to make solid returns when we need them most,” Gale said. “My play is very aggressive, and I love crushing a huge return on a big point. We both have solid serves, and that really helps us in doubles. We’ve played together long enough now that we can anticipate where we will both be in any given point.”
The longtime friends met while working at a startup in 2001 and started playing doubles together soon after.
For Gale, this was his sixth time reaching Tri-Level Sectionals. He won once at the 4.0 level with a different partner and then a few years back, was able to accomplish his goal of winning at 4.5, this time with Scott. The duo was unable to attend Nationals, so winning again this year was the ultimate thrill.
“Since getting bumped up to 4.5, I’ve been trying to win Sectionals so I can go to Nationals at the 4.5 level. I won the local league many times with different doubles partners, but it wasn’t until Chris and I paired up that we were able to win Sectionals and qualify for Nationals,” Gale said.
He added, “What an opportunity. Having been to Indian Wells before makes me appreciate it even more. The courts are pristine, the weather is great, and all the top pros are there. You play tennis then go watch tennis. I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s a tennis player’s dream.”
The Tri-Level Championships will be held during the final weekend of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, CA from March 14-17.