Orlando players made themselves known at last weekend’s USTA League 18 & Over National Championships, where a women’s team from Casselberry was crowned a national champion, and a men’s team from Orlando finished third.
The women’s 18 & Over 3.5 team from Seminole County (Red Bug Lake Park, Casselberry) defeated a team from the USTA Caribbean Section (Guaynabo, P.R.) 4-1 to claim the national championship in Orlando at the USTA National Campus.
A powerhouse at the women’s 3.5 level, Seminole County teams have won the USTA Florida League Sectionals title at the women’s 3.5 level in three of the past four years. It was the second straight women’s 3.5 national title for Florida after Broward County (Midtown Athletic Club, Weston) won in 2017.
Earlier in the day the Orlando squad defeated a team from the USTA Midwest Section (South Bend., Ind.) 4-1 in the semifinals. They advanced to the semis by winning their round-robin flight contested Friday and Saturday. Their season roster was comprised of Madelyn Escudero (captain), Mary Lutz, Julie Fontaine, Erin Brown, Wanda Costanzo, Wendy Sutch, Shanel Malapit, Jennifer Carter, Rachel Halscott, Katherine Walker, Ann Jones, Isabelle Welsh, Kristina Godiksen, Misa Kawata, Rianne Sanchez, Shelly Bauer, Kathleen Cotton, and Sarah Davey.
For the team captain Escudero, it was her second USTA League National Championship with some of the same players she won the 3.0 national championship with in 2015.
“In January I told Isabelle Welsh, one of my original teammates from nationals, that this would be our year to get to 3.5 nationals, whether it would be 3.5 40 & Over or 3.5 18 & Over,” she said. “Unfortunately we were finalists at sectionals for the 3.5 40 & Over to Broward County, so the pressure was on for our shot to win the 3.5 18 & Over at sectionals the following month. We accomplished our team goal and it was against our rival, Broward County!
“We were ordering new uniforms to participate in Color Wars at nationals, figuring out partnerships, practicing, deciding on what would be the best line up, and lots of research on our opponents. When we won we all jumped for joy, screamed, we were super excited, started hugging each other and just could not believe we did it! I want to thank all of our opponents for being good sports, especially Connecticut, Indiana and Puerto Rico. It’s nice to face opponents who have fair line calls, are genuinely nice and can congratulate when a great shot is made.”
Also at the USTA National Campus in Orlando the Orlando 3.5 men, a team playing their regular season out of the USTA National Campus, finished third when they defeated USTA Southern (Atlanta) 3-2 in the 3rd/4th place playoff.
In the prior semifinal round the Orlando men lost to the eventual-champion USTA Intermountain Section (Salt Lake City, Utah) 3-2.
The Orlando men’s season roster was comprised of Nicholas Anderson (captain), Gustavo Woiciechowski, Gilberto Brandolezi, Herman Souza de Azevedo, Andre Geraldo Pires de Mello, Diego Hermano, Thiago Gontijo, Carlos Delpupo, Peter Breuer, Alexandre Genovese, Allan Pelosi, Guilherme Barra, Jubal Filho, Lenny Santiago, Tiago Begliomini, Renato Barits, and Jason Shiver.
Established in 1980, USTA League has grown from 13,000 players in a few parts of the country in its first year to more than 310,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
USTA League was established to provide adult recreational tennis players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 sections. 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 about USTA League or the USTA, visit www.usta.com.
To find a league in Florida go to www.ustaflorida.com/leagues.