USTA League teams from Collier County dominated the 2018 USTA Florida 65 & Over League Sectional Tennis Championships on April 14-16, winning two titles and appearing in all five finals at the USTA National Campus in Orlando.
Pinellas County also won two titles, while Duval County (Jacksonville) successfully defended its title in the Women’s 6.0 division, winning for the sixth time in the last seven years.
Collier teams won the Men’s 8.0 (Bonita Springs) and the Men’s 7.0 (Naples). Pinellas teams won the Women’s 8.0 (Clearwater) and the Women’s 7.0 (Seminole).
“We have a very strong league in Collier County and we play against five very competitive teams in the fall and winter,” said Men’s 8.0 winning captain Ron Mishko. “This year we were ready! We dedicated our play to one of our players, Keith Butterfield, who is currently battling pancreatic cancer while we were battling on the courts.”
In the five men’s and women’s division finals, Collier had a 2-3 win-loss record. No county has ever won three titles at the Florida 65 & Over Sectionals. Hillsborough County was 0-2 in the championship round, losing both the Men’s 8.0 and Men’s 7.0 finals to Collier.
“First, the staff could not have been more pleasant or helpful,” said Collier’s Warren White of the winning Men’s 8.0 division team. “I don’t know why it is this way, but the vast majority of tennis players are super-nice people.”
The USTA Florida Adult 65 & Over League Sectional Championships is the first USTA Florida League Sectional Championships of the 2018 league season. The season-ending county leader in USTA Florida League Sectional Championships titles will receive the USTA Florida League Championship Cup.
“At our age, the experience at the USTA National Campus was a time to remember,” said the championship-winning Men’s 7.0 captain from Collier County, David Smith. “Exciting and exhilarating in every respect. Each Adult 65 & Over team were gentlemen and talented players. Our team is an awesome group of talented gentlemen too. We went into our last match Monday knowing that if we could win all three courts, the championship would be ours and we did it, with our No. 1 team closing it out in a third-set tiebreaker. Just a fantastic experience for each of us.”
Division winners and finalists:
65 & Over Women’s 8.0 Division
Final: Pinellas County (City of Clearwater) d. Collier County (Naples Grande Beach Resort) 3-0
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Clara Reynolds/Susan Tarantino (Pinellas) d. Barbara Burke/Joan Baker 6-4, 6-1
No. 2 Doubles: Kathy Moll/Debbie Dawson (Pinellas) d. Colleen Burns Keenan/Rosemary Black 6-1, 6-4
No. 3 Doubles: Holly Charles/Frances Strazzulla (Pinellas) d. Holly Hearity/Ann Soper 7-5, 6-1
Pinellas Season Roster: Sharon Carlile (captain), Holly Charles, Beverly Fisher, Susan Tarantino, Clara Reynolds, Debbie Dawson, Kathy Moll, Ann Worthington, Marion Murch, Frances Strazzulla, Susan Hobbs
65 & Over Men’s 8.0 Division
Final: Collier County (Lighthouse Bay, Bonita Springs) d. Hillsborough County (River Hills C.C., Valrico) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Frank Bova/William Carpenter (Collier) d. Barry Shollenberger/Jay Bortner 7-6, 6-3
No. 2 Doubles: Joseph Spadaro/Richard Werner (Collier) d. Randy Sterns/Terry Tetzlaff 6-2, 6-2
No. 3 Doubles: Chris Haughee/Mark Rosenfeld (Hillsborough) d. John Dolle/Russell Lathum 6-4, 6-3
Collier Season Roster: Ron Mishko (captain), Joseph Spadaro, David Seiverling, Russell Lathum, Keith Butterfield, Frank Bova, John Dolle, John Swan, William Carpenter, Edward Underwood, Fred Drilling, Gary Miller, Warren White, Richard Werner
65 & Over Women’s 7.0 Division
Final: Pinellas County (Seminole Lakes Tennis Center, Seminole) d. Collier County (World Tennis Center, Naples) 2-1
Championship Match Results:
No. 1 Doubles: Lauren Marr/Ruth Fellmeth (Pinellas) d. Patty Drace/Rose Austin 6-0, 1-6, 1-0 (super-tiebreaker)
No. 2 Doubles: Pat Koepke/Roberta Kendzierski (Collier) d. Janice Williams/Sue Magnus 6-3, 7-5
No. 3 Doubles: Ellen Hellmers/Debbie Ramker (Pinellas) d. Judith Spaeth/Carol Stuckey 6-4, 6-2
Pinellas Season Roster: Nancy Fruit (captain), Carol Petroc, Sue Magnus, Debbie Ramker, Marilyn Green, Theresa Walker, Jane Cobb, Sarah Wiand, Ruth Fellmeth, Victoria Hess, Ellen Hellmers, Lauren Marr, Janice Williams
65 & Over Men’s 7.0 Division
Final: Collier County (Players Club and Spa, Naples) finished ahead of Hillsborough County (Temple Terrace, Tampa) in round robin play
Collier Season Roster: David Smith (captain), Arthur Katsaros, Larry Snyder, John Weatherwax, Sol Lesser, Daniel McDonald, Patrick Monti, Barry Spagnoli, John Simpson, Jim Kedrowski, Bill Askeland
65 & Over Women’s 6.0 Division
Final: Duval County (Southside Tennis Complex, Jacksonville) finished ahead of Collier County (Pelican Marsh, Naples) in round robin play
Duval Season Roster: Sandra Tobias (captain), Jean Levis, Bonnie Laster, Floris Singletary, Judy Gabler, Holly Depiesse, Beverley Thompson, Linda Routh, Elisa Barnes, Tamara Rodda, Zenaida Lavina, Nancy Goff
The NTRP (National Tennis Rating Program) scale for doubles progresses from 6.0 to 8.0 combined levels of play for the USTA Florida Adult 65 & Over League Championships. For more information on NTRP levels go to www.usta.com/en/home/play/play-as-a-member/national/about-ntrp-ratings.html.
For additional event info go to www.ustaflorida.com/event/2017-adult-65-sectional-championship.
2018 USTA FLORIDA LEAGUE
CHAMPIONSHIP CUP STANDINGS
The USTA Florida League Championship Cup is awarded to the county with the most league sectionals titles during the 2018 season (standings through April 17):
1T. Collier County (2 titles) — 65&Over-M7.0/8.0
1T. Pinellas County (2) — 65&Over-W7.0/8.0
3. Duval County (1) — 65&Over-W6.0
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.
Next Sectionals: 55 & Over 3.0/4.0, May 5-7, USTA National Campus, Orlando
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.