Teams from Alachua, Broward, Duval and Orange County withstood the chilly Florida weather and raised trophies at the 2021 Tri-Level Sectional Championships, held Nov. 6-7, 2021 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
Despite a hiatus from the Tri-Level Sectional Championships in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Broward County men defended the 3.0/3.5/4.0 division title for the third time, after first capturing it in 2018 and then again in 2019. The squad from the Lauderdale Tennis Club in Ft. Lauderdale swept Brevard County (Rockledge Park, Rockledge) 3-0 in the championship match. At the top spot, David Chen and Eliu Montero teamed up to win 6-0, 6-0. Courts two and three finished with similar results, as Michael OMahony and Christopher Beningo won 6-2, 6-1 while Stephan Maclaurin and Ulysse Cassignol came through 6-3, 6-1.
In the women’s 2.5/3.0/3.5 division, Alachua County (Westside Park, Gainesville) and Hillsborough County (FishHawk Ranch, Lithia) advanced to the final after dominating their respective early-round flights. Alachua’s Marlene Townsend and Darby Townsend were victorious on doubles court one with a 6-3, 6-3 score. Hillsborough’s Sheryl Schumacher and Catherine Davidson went 7-5, 7-5 on line two to pick up the win, but Alachua bounced back on court three with a 7-5, 6-0 score from Linda Garcia-Crespo and Marisa Rodriguez for the 2-1 win and the trophy.
Duval County (Saint Johns Tennis Academy, Saint Johns) captured their first-ever title in the women’s 3.0/3.5/4.0 division, the largest group of the weekend. Duval emerged from Flight 3 with a perfect 4-0, only dropping four sets throughout flight play. Also advancing to the semifinals were two Orange County teams representing the USTA National Campus and Hillsborough County (FishHawk Ranch, Lithia). The championship dual came down to Duval and the Orange County team captained by Meriel Donahey, whose duo of Nikki Anne Ballelos and Christina Le battled on court two to a 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 victory. Duval hit back on line 1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win by Marianne Maetozo and Cecilia Collins, and line 3 with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph by Jennifer Cremen and Betsy Crook to edge out Orange County and claim the title.
It wasn’t a total loss for Orange County though, who took home the trophy in the event’s round-robin only division, the women’s 4.0/4.5/5.0. The women of the Orlando Tennis Center in Orlando finished ahead of Broward County (Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation) 2-1 to 1-2 in round-robin play.
Tri-Level League is a doubles format designed to provide a unique team league opportunity by combining players of differing NTRP levels on teams in local competition, advancing to state/regional championships, and to the national championships for the 3.5/4.0/4.5 divisions.
“The Tri-Level program has had steady growth over the past few years,” said Desirae McLaughlin, USTA Florida Adult Team Play Manager. “It’s a great opportunity for players who want to take part in a socially-competitive league because it combines the company of friends with the ultimate team experience.”
Women’s 2.5/3.0/3.5 Division
Final: Alachua County (Westside Park, Gainesville) defeated Hillsborough County (FishHawk Ranch, Lithia) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
3.5 Doubles: Marlene Townsend/Darby Townsend (Alachua) d. Nicole Kipp/Krissy Heybroek 7-5, 6-0
3.0 Doubles: Sheryl Schumacher/Catherine Davidson (Hillsborough) d. Rebecca McKee/Irina Madorsky 7-5, 7-5
2.5 Doubles: Linda Garcia-Crespo/Marisa Rodriguez (Alachua) d. Becky Meidt/Carol Guido 6-3,6-3
Alachua County Season Roster: Irina Madorsky (captain), Linda Garcia-Crespo, Laura Montauk, Darby Townsend, Marisa Rodriguez, Marlene Townsend, Rebecca McKee, Melissa Morris, Cara Duffaut
Men’s 3.0/3.5/4.0 Division
Final: Broward County (Lauderdale Tennis Club, Ft. Lauderdale) d. Brevard County (Rockledge Park, Rockledge) 3-0
Championship Match Results:
4.0 Doubles: David Chen/Eliu Montero (Broward) d. Daniel Flores/Quoc Duong 6-0, 6-0
3.5 Doubles: Michael OMahony/Christopher Beningo (Broward) d. Isidro Zavaleta/Eddie White 6-2, 6-1
3.0 Doubles: Stephan Maclaurin/Ulysse Cassignol (Broward) d. Vincent Vo/Rob Barham 6-3, 6-1
Broward County Season Roster: Khai Phan (captain), Michael OMahony, Vincent Salazar, Kevin Gonzalez, Shawn Chen, David Chen, Eliu Montero, Steve Martinez, Edgardo Jimenez Velazquez, Joshua Forman, Stephan Maclaurin, Ulysse Cassignol, Brett Helms, Christopher Beningo, Paul Pilger
Women’s 3.0/3.5/4.0 Division
Final: Duval County (Saint Johns Tennis Academy, Saint Johns) d. Orange County (USTA National Campus, Orlando) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
4.0 Doubles: Marianne Maetozo/Cecilia Collins (Duval) d. Hoang-Oanh Tran/Mary Ann Ballelos 6-3, 6-2
3.5 Doubles: Nikki Anne Ballelos/Christina Le (Orange) d. Nina Strickland/Jill Jabot 6-1, 4-6, 1-0
3.0 Doubles: Jennifer Cremen/Betsy Crook (Duval) d. Krieshanne Taze Sanchez/Diane Mahony 6-4, 6-2
Duval County Season Roster: Mani Prieto (captain), Nina Strickland, Cheryl Moody, Kim Loferski, Jennifer Cremen, Jeralyn Forcier, Patricia Kozack, Tracy Yuro, Susan Asher, Marianne Maetozo, Christi Bisson, Penny Amoroso, Ann Tiefenthaler, Cecilia Collins, Betsy Crook, Jill Jabot, Shelly Turner, Karen Millard
Women’s 4.0/4.5/5.0 Division
Final: Orange County (Orlando Tennis Center, Orlando) finished ahead of Broward County (Frank Veltri Tennis Center, Plantation) 2-1 to 1-2 in round-robin play
Orange County Season Roster: Tolly Spengler (captain), Lisa Peele, Anelise Tregansin, Elizabeth Accola, Denise Tormey, Shery Cassidy, Ingrid Clapp, Claire Fitzgerald, Laura Savage, Sonia Herring, Maureen Delrossi, Tasi Purcell Batista, Ligia Bottinelli, Bryn Auld
For more info on Tri-Level or other USTA Florida Leagues, or to sign-up for a league, please visit www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.