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December 7, 2017

SCOTTSDALE - Fifteen 2017 USTA Southwest Award winners were recently chosen by the section's

Awards in a variety of volunteer and competitive realms.

Award winners were selected from nominations among members in their respective districts, then decided upon at a Section level.


Both the 2017 Award winners and the 2017 Hall of Fame class of Lou Belken and Doug MacCurdy will be recognized at the USTA Southwest Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday, January 13 at the Embassy Suites/Phoenix/Scottsdale. The Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet will be held from 6-9 pm.

That event will be part of a larger weekend gathering and strategy session for USTA Southwest volunteers. 

Award winners  are as follows:

Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year was El Paso elementary school teacher Adrian Flores. He has been a passionate volunteer and instructor for El Paso youth, and has implemented a red/orange ball tournament and been a part of the Greater El Paso Tennis Association's Hispanic Diversity Week and Play Days.

Our Family of the Year award was given to the Perry Family of Tucson, an enthusiastic, tennis-crazed group of five. ADVERTISEMENT Father John co-runs a tennis academy in Tucson, is a league player and a volunteer on the USTA Southwest Junior Competition Committee, while mother Janelle is the quintessential tennis mom, handling many of the family tennis chores, and the sons Brendan, Jared and Stefan all play Southwest events and volunteer for tennis happenings in Tucson.

Our Adult Player of the Year is Mitch McDaniels of Tucson. McDaniels posted a 20-2 record in the Open division with three tournament victories and two finals appearances, while still attempting to play professional events.

Tucson Community Tennis Program's Adult-Child Tournament was named our Event of the Year. TCTP's Adult-Child Tourney  showcases both youth and adult tennis by pairing them in a non-competitive setting that also promotes awareness of TCTP's community efforts. Donations from the community also go a long way toward making the event a true fundraiser for TCTP.

Our Member Organization of the Year was Santa Fe Tennis & Swim Club. The club celebrated its 50th anniversary year in 2017. A newly renovated club, and with a wide menu of tennis offerings that including USTA leagues, USTA adult and junior events and community partnerships with high schools, they were truly deserving.

Our NJTL Chapter of the Year is the Border Youth Tennis Exchange (BYTE). Run by Charlie Cutler, this tennis/educational program on the border of Arizona/Mexico is breaking barriers and widely-held narratives in the Nogales community about border towns. BYTE's efforts and results have been truly inspirational and it has been a pleasure to watch their program grow.  

Jeremy Sweet of Chandler Hamilton (Ariz.) was our High School Coach of the Year. Sweet has been a dedicated girls' coach to the Lady Huskies' squad, helping lead them to the state semis in 2016 and a quarterfinal appearance in 2017. He's also an integral part of the USTA Central Arizona Club Tennis program and is a member of the Arizona High School Tennis Coaches' Association.

Our Junior Male Player of the Year is Sangeet Sridhar of Glendale, Ariz. Sridhar reached a Top 80 world ITF Junior ranking in 2017, and appeared at two Junior Grand Slams (Wimbledon and the US Open). Junior Female Player of the Year was Paradise Valley, Arizona's Lauren Stein. Stein cracked the Top 15 of the Girls' 16 national rankings, and was the champion of the prestigious USTA International Spring Championships in early 2017.

Our Junior Sportsmanship Award went to Abraham Yohannes of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Yohannes has been playing juniors for awhile now, amassing an impressive 550 plus career matches, with nary a behavioral issue and numerous kudos from tournament directors and fellow players for his fair play and demeanor on court.  

Outstanding Tournament Enrichment went to Eric Anderson for his work in making the USTA Southwest Adult Slam Series Grass Court Championships a true happening. The event has grown in importance and numbers every year since its inception in 2012, and Anderson and the staff at Desert Highlands put a lot of labor and love into making the event great.  

Our League Player of the Year goes to Chris Strohm of Tucson. Strohm played at every level of leagues this year (18 & Over, 40 & Over, 55 & Over, 65 & Over, Mixed and Tri-Level, amassing 84 matches played.


League Captain of the Year award went to Kate Bessey of Tucson. Bessey, who's also a member of the USTA Southern Arizona league committee and serves as Southern Arizona treasurer, is an always-willing captain and a great advocate of the USTA League program.   

Our League Coordinator of the Year is USTA Central Arizona's Kelly Ferris. Ferris has been a one-woman dynamo, helping grow Phoenix-area leagues. She's been among the top league coordinators in the country this year in unique league registrations and local league growth.

USTA League Facility of the Year is Phoenix Tennis Center. The City of Phoenix public facility was home to a whopping 151 league teams and played more than 3,000 league matches this year.  

Monica Wintheiser of Albuquerque was named our Dianne Miller Courage in Tennis Award winner for 2017. After a struggle to find out what was plaguing her, Wintheiser was misdiagnosed then later found to have a rare form of squamous cell cancer. She's endured 12 surgeries in the last 2 1/2 years, and still kept an incredibly enthusiastic  and upbeat outlook while still playing and continuing to work at her job at Tennis Club of Albuquerque.

Congratulations to all our newest award winners and our Hall of Fame inductees.

2017 USTA Southwest Award Winners

Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year: Adrian Flores (El Paso, Texas)
*Family of the Year: The Perry Family (Tucson, Ariz.)

Junior Player of the Year (Female) - Lauren Stein (Paradise Valley, Ariz.)
Junior Player of the Year (Male): Sangeet Sridhar (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

High School Coach of the Year: 
Jeremy Sweet  (Chandler, Ariz. - Chandler Hamilton HS)
Tournament Enrichment: Eric Anderson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) 

USTA League Tennis Captain of the Year
: Kate Bessey (Tucson, Ariz.)
USTA League Tennis Player of the Year: Chris Strohm (Tucson, Ariz.)
USTA League Facility of the Year: Phoenix Tennis Center (Phoenix, Ariz.)
USTA League Coordinator of the Year: Kelly Ferris (USTA Central Ariz.)

*NJTL Chapter of the Year: 
Border Youth Tennis Exchange  (Nogales, Ariz.)

*Member Organization of the Year: Santa Fe Tennis & Swim Club (Santa Fe, NM)

*Junior Sportsmanship: Abraham Yohannes  (Albuquerque, NM)
Adult Player of the Year: Mitch McDaniels (Tucson, Ariz.)  
Dianne Miller Courage in Tennis: Monica Wintheiser (Albuquerque, NM)


*National awards: These four USTA Southwest Award winners will be submitted for USTA national awards consideration in these categories.


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