USTA Florida League Sectionals christened the new USTA National Campus over the weekend as four teams were crowned sectional champions at the Combo 18 & Over 6.5/8.5 League Championships, Jan. 6-8, 2017, the first-ever event held at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
Teams battled in men’s and women’s doubles-only 6.5 and 8.5 divisions on the hard courts of the USTA National Campus, where the weather turned into an additional adversary. Beautiful weather on Friday gave way to challenging conditions on Saturday and Sunday as a cold front brought in rain and chilly temperatures.
Division winners were Broward County (Dillon Tennis Center, Oakland Park) in the men’s 6.5, Escambia County (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola) in the women’s 6.5, Leon County (Tom Brown Park, Tallahassee) in the men’s 8.5, and Alachua County (Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville) in the women’s 8.5.
“My team’s experience at the USTA National Campus was absolutely phenomenal,” said men’s 6.5 division-winning team captain Kevin Sims from Oakland Park, near Ft. Lauderdale. “The staff there were just so helpful and very customer-service oriented. The facility was just state-of-the-art. When my players arrived they told me playing at this facility is like playing at majors, but on a recreational level. All of my players upped their game because the facility motivated them more.”
The USTA National Campus began a new USTA Florida Section League tradition by allowing sectionals-title winning team captains to sign the wall next to the tournament desk in the check-in area.
“I was the first to sign the captain wall of champions, I was honored, that was so cool,” Sims said. “The entire time on the USTA National Campus my players were on a natural high and could not stop from smiling as they toured the facility. The facility was like a tennis mecca. My players are very diverse, but one major item they all had in common is the love for tennis and the admiration for a well-developed facility. My hat goes off to everyone who was involved in putting this together. My team is very eager and has motivation to do even better in our local league so that we can return to the USTA National Campus.”
All four division finals were tightly contested, determined by a score of 2-1. Alachua and Pinellas counties saw two of their three matches in the women’s 8.5 division final determined by super-tiebreakers.
Broward’s sectional championship title brings them into a tie with Pinellas County for the lead in the 2016 USTA Florida League Champion Cup Standings (see below). One 2016 sectional championships remains next weekend, which will close out the 2016 league season. The USTA Florida League Champion Cup will be presented to the Florida county team winning the most league sectionals titles during the season.
More than 500 players competed during the weekend, with teams representing various clubs, parks, recreational departments and organizations that finished at the top of their local leagues during the 2016 season. The USTA Florida Combo 18 & Over 6.5/8.5 League Championships were highlighted as the first league sectionals to feature live streaming, allowing friends and family the ability to watch live matches via computer or mobile devices. With 100 tennis courts spread across 64 acres, the USTA National Campus offers unparalleled playing, training and educational experiences for recreational players, competitive players, coaches and spectators.
“After settling for finalists last year, our team vowed to be champions this year,” said Kim Andrews, captain of the Escambia County women’s 6.5 championship squad. “To be one of the first victors at the new USTA National Campus was the icing on the top. The coolest part to our win was how many people posted a picture of themselves watching us on the live streaming back at home and across the country. I can’t say enough about this experience.”
Here are the results from the division finals:
Final: Broward County (Dillon Tennis Center, Oakland Park) d. Hillsborough County (Hunter’s Green, Tampa) 2-1
No. 1 Doubles: Ronald Coletto/Todd Wozniewski (Broward) d. Erik Hajek/Jim DiCesaro 6-4, 6-3
No. 2 Doubles: John Cotey/James Hann (Hillsborough) d. Carlo Cantavero/Rafael Rigotto 7-6, 6-0
No. 3 Doubles: Armando Orozco/Kevin Almonte (Broward) d. Andrew Ritter/John Slatniske 6-2, 6-0
Broward Season Roster: Kevin Sims (captain), Mario Huayamave, Rafael Rigotto, Carlo Cantavero, Alain Nicolas-David, Francesco Marrama, Armando Orozco, Ronald Coletto, Kevin Almonte, Leo Julien, Todd Wozniewski, Antonio De Cecchi, Mark Reyes, Ara Toroyan
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Final: Escambia County (Roger Scott Tennis Center, Pensacola) d. Polk County (Winter Haven Municipal Courts) 2-1
No. 1 Doubles: Ingrid Hewette/Elena Sise (Escambia) d. Jayma Knight/Roxanna Ford 6-1, 6-3
No. 2 Doubles: Denise Saltman/Allison Guerra (Polk) d. Kristyn Miller/Kenzier McIntyre 7-6, 2-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 3 Doubles: Rachel Trahan/Melissa Paravalos (Escambia) d. Paige Turner/Paula McCardle 6-3, 6-3
Escambia Season Roster: Kimberly Andrews (captain), Ingrid Corbett, Ingrid Hewette, Jessica Schultheis, Elena Sise, Rachel Trahan, Karen Penn, Kenzier McIntyre, Melissa Paravalos, Anne Elidemir, Kristyn Miller
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Final: Leon County (Tom Brown Park, Tallahassee) d. Sarasota County (Palm-Aire Racquet Club, Sarasota) 2-1
No. 1 Doubles: Randolph Gibson/Wayne Osher (Sarasota) d. Dwaipayan Choudhury/Corey Howard 6-3, 6-3
No. 2 Doubles: Wayne Clowers/Maxx Esteves (Leon) d. Nick Hardy/Leonard Belli 6-3, 7-5
No. 3 Doubles: Harvey Spear/Derick Dehmer (Leon) d. Duncan Crowley/Philip Crutchfield 7-6, 7-6
Leon Season Roster: Sachin Murthy (captain), Dwaipayan Choudhury, Harvey Spear, Wayne Clowers, Simha Jagadeesh, Jackson May, Derick Dehmer, Robert Rittwage, Maxx Esteves, Josh Clifford, Romeo Parungao, Corey Howard
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Final: Alachua County (Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville) d. Pinellas County (Tarpon Tennis Club, Tarpon Springs) 2-1
No. 1 Doubles: Jamie Primosch/Bianca Gavaller (Alachua) d. Stephanie Geshel/Sandy Trail 7-6, 4-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 2 Doubles: Marta Ferraz-Valles/Gabriela Ghita (Alachua) d. Jillene Panella/Kay Caldwell 6-1, 6-3
No. 3 Doubles: Stephanie Means/Abby Kronk (Pinellas) d. Agostina Moran/Yadira McDonald 1-6, 6-4, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
Alachua Season Roster: Gabriela Ghita (captain), Courtney Cribb, Lan Hoang, Agostina Moran, Mary Cribb, Marta Ferraz-Valles, Lindsey Wilson, Charlene Frazer, Vanessa Chaney, Ali Messenger, Yadira McDonald, Jamie Primosch, Bianca Gavaller
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For Combo 18 & Over 6.5-8.5 doubles-only division play, the combined NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) ratings of each doubles team may not exceed the level in which they are competing, and the NTRP rating difference between members of an individual doubles pair may not exceed 0.5. For more information on NTRP levels go to www.usta.com/Adult-Tennis/USTA-League/Information/About_NTRP.
The Florida 2016 USTA League season will conclude this weekend with the 2016 Combo 18 & Over 5.5/7.5/9.5 Sectional Championships on Jan. 13-15 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
2016 USTA FLORIDA LEAGUE
CHAMPIONSHIP CUP STANDINGS
Broward’s title at the 6.5/8.5 Combo Sectionals vaults them into a first-place tie with Pinellas with one sectional championship remaining in the 2016 season. Here are the current league sectional title leaders for the 2016 season (through Jan 9, recent winners in bold):
1T. Broward County (5 titles) — 55&Over M4.5, 18&Over M3.5/X7.0/X8.0, Combo M6.5
1T. Pinellas County (5) — 55&Over W4.0/M4.0, 40&Over X8.0/X9.0, 18&Over X9.0
3T. Clay County (4) — 55&Over W3.0, 40&Over W3.5, 18&Over W3.0/W4.0
3T. Collier County (4) — 65&Over W6.0, 55&Over M3.5/W4.5, Combo 50&Over W6.5
3T. Miami-Dade County (4) — 40&Over W4.0/M4.0, 18&Over M4.0/M4.5
3T. Orange County (4) — 18&Over W4.5, 18&Over M5.0+, 40&Over W4.5+, 40&Over M3.5
3T. Volusia County (4) — 40&Over X7.0, 55&Over W3.5, 18&Over X6.0/ W-Open
8. Marion County (3) — 55&Over M3.0, 40&Over X6.0/M3.0
9T. Alachua County (2) — 65&Over M6.0, Combo W8.5
9T. Escambia County (2) — Combo 50&Over M6.5, Combo W6.5
9T. Hillsborough County (2) — Combo 50&Over M7.5/W8.5
9T. Leon County (2) — 18&Over M3.0, Combo M8.5
13T. Brevard County (1) — Combo 50&Over M8.5
13T. Duval County (1) — 18&Over W2.5
13T. Manatee County (1) — Combo 50&Over W7.5
13T. Martin County (1) — 65&Over W7.0
13T. Nassau County (1) — 65&Over W8.0
13T. Palm Beach County (1) — 18&Over W5.0
13T. Polk County (1) — 65&Over M8.0
13T. Sarasota County (1) — 40&Over M4.5+
13T. Seminole County (1) — 18&Over W3.5
13T. St. Johns County (1) — 40&Over W3.0
Note: County determined by location of team’s home club. Season-ending ties to be broken by teams’ 1st-4th place results at USTA League Nationals.
Established in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year to more than 904,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league. The league groups players by using six National Tennis Rating Program (NTRP) levels, ranging from 2.5 (entry) to 5.0 (advanced). USTA League is open to any USTA member 18 years of age or older.
For more information on USTA Florida Leagues go to www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.