The 3.0 Adult Women's team from Dallas, Texas.
© Andrew Ong
By Adam Kempa, Special to USTA.com
TUCSON, AZ – America has long been called the melting pot for the diverse range of cultures and nationalities that call the United States their home. The women’s team from Dallas, Texas epitomizes the melting pot that is America, with players on the team representing 4 out of the 7 continents. The team boasts players that hail from Columbia, Peru, Ireland, Korea, and also include a second generation Norwegian. This "International Team" has come together and made it all the way to the USTA League 3.0 National Championships here in Tucson.
Michelle McGuire moved to the United States from Ireland 4 years ago, and only started playing tennis about 13 months ago upon encouragement from her friends. "I wish I would’ve started playing 13 years ago, but it’s too dreary and rainy in Ireland to play tennis," she said. The team also includes a former Ms. Peru winner. Paola Gerber captured the title of Miss Peru in 1995, and went on to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
The ladies have known each other for about two years, and met through the TCD local tennis league in Dallas. They competed against each other last year in the TCD, but became friends off the court and decided to join together and form a team with the goal of making it to the National Championships. Lucy S. Muniz, the captain of the team, was one match short of making it to the National Championships last year, so she was especially hungry to take it to the next level. Additionally, Dagny Kauserud’s parents from Norway are in town this weekend for the tournament, and are celebrating their 61st anniversary.
Lucy’s husband Rueben is the coach, and as one player put it, "the mentor" of the team. "I’ve been playing tennis for 40 years, and I still play competitively at the 4.0 level, and I have never made it to nationals, so I know how much of an accomplishment this is for them. Only about 1 in a thousand USTA players have this opportunity," Rueben said. "At this point I don’t worry about coaching fundamentals, I just help them on the mental and strategic side of the game."
Everything has seemed to go their way on their road to the championship. The team had to go through an extra qualifying round to make it to Sectionals, and have been down to their last match several times, but have always found a way to persevere. We will see if the International Team can take it one step further and capture the National Championship this weekend in Tucson.