Rain suspended one division of play but eventually five different county winners emerged on Monday from the final round of the 2018 USTA Florida Combo 50 & Over 6.5/7.5/8.5 League Sectionals, held Nov. 10-12 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

Hillsborough County and the Avila Golf & Country Club out of Tampa won their second straight Men’s 8.5 division title, and the fourth in the last five years for Hillsborough County.

“Our experience during the last several years with opposing captains and their teams has been more than fun and worth the experience,” said Hillsborough Men’s 8.5 captain Barney Bailey. “The Avila Mutiny from will continue to compete and hope for another opportunity to return to USTA Florida Sectionals play. Thanks to [tournament personnel] Jodi [Manning] and Clark [Higgs] and the rest of the USTA staff on site for always making this a fun event and well managed.”

Collier County (The Players Club & Spa, Naples) in the Men’s 6.5 division prevented Marion County from winning a second straight division title by edging them 3-1 to 2-2 match victories in round robin play.

“This was a dream team from the very beginning in tennis ability, personality and respect,” said Collier team captain Jim Bifaro. “We were undefeated during the season 7-0 and only lost one court out of 21.”

Other winners were Pinellas County (St. Pete Tennis Center) in the Women’s 7.5 division, and both Sarasota County (Esplanade Golf & C.C., Lakewood Ranch) in the Women’s 8.5 and Alachua County (Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville) in the Men’s 7.5 winning their first sectionals titles of the season.

“I enjoyed captaining and being part of this small team from Gainesville,” said Sorin Fratila. “This trophy stands alone proudly witnessing my teammates commitment and dedication. We started a journey without an end, and lots of things are yet to be discovered.”

Pinellas County was almost a two-time winner, edged 2-1 by Alachua County in the Men’s 7.5 final.

“The level of play at sectionals was exceptional and we certainly rose to the occasion,” said Pinellas’ winning Women’s 7.5 captain Ellen Johnson. “Every player who was able to go to Daytona had the opportunity to play, and every player contributed by winning key matches for our team. This victory was definitely the result of 100 percent team spirit, effort and motivation. Sportsmanship was exemplary and we are so proud to bring home the victory banner to the St. Pete Tennis Club.”

Miami-Dade County came up short 0-2 in finals, both teams hailing from the Ron Ehmann Tennis Center in Miami.

Hillsborough County has now opened up a two-title lead over Broward, Duval and Pinellas counties which all sit in a three-way second-place tie in the race for the 2018 USTA Florida League Championship Cup (see full standings below) with only two sectionals championships remaining. The USTA Florida League Championship Cup is annually awarded to the county with the most league sectionals titles during the league sectionals championships season.

The Women’s 6.5 division final was suspended by rain and will be made-up on Dec. 7 between finalists Alachua County (Gainesville Golf & County Club) and Marion County (Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, Ocala).

The competing teams represented various clubs, parks, recreational departments and organizations, and finished at the top of their local leagues during the 2018 season to advance to the USTA Florida Combo 50 & Over League Sectional Championships.

For Combo 50 & 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.ustaflorida.com/adult-tennis/usta-leagues/#section-ntrp-ratings.

Final results:

Women’s 8.5 Division

Final: Sarasota County (Esplanade Golf & C.C., Lakewood Ranch) finished ahead of Miami-Dade South (Ron Ehmann Tennis Center, Miami) 5-0 to 4-1 in round robin play

Sarasota Season Roster: Lorraine Varone (captain), SueAnn Sanders, Julie Warren, Lilian Peltz-Petow, Celia Marchese, Karen Brenneman, Beverly Kalil, Kim Eck, Joan Patterson, Christine Adelman, Elizabeth Warrier

Women’s 7.5 Division

Final: Pinellas County (St. Pete Tennis Center) d. Brevard County (City of Rockledge Park) 2-1

No. 1 Doubles: Mary Miller/Isabel Arango (Pinellas) d. Marlee Miller/Amy McIntosh 6-1, 6-4
No. 2 Doubles: Melissa Johnson/Astrid Johnson (Brevard) d. Laura Wetzel/Carrie Kilgroe 6-3, 6-2
No. 3 Doubles: Sandy Martin/Irene Nasworthy (Pinellas) d. Jennifer Csanyi/Susan Noble 6-3, 6-2

Pinellas Season Roster: Ellen Johnson (captain), Laura Wetzel, Sherry McBee, Irene Nasworthy, Carrie Kilgroe,  Jaclyn Turner, Jamie Stein, Isabel Arango, Mary Miller, Lucy Robertson, Ruth Barnett, Sandy Martin, Christine Jones, Dorothy Crosse

Men’s 8.5 Division

Final: Hillsborough County (Avila Golf & C.C., Tampa) finished ahead of Miami-Dade South (Ron Ehmann Tennis Center, Miami) 4-0 to 1-3

Hillsborough Season Roster: Barney Bailey (captain), Dushan Martinasek, Roger Bensinger, Thor Moody, David King, Darin Garner, Michael Kosloske, Michael Teixeira, Robert Maisner, John Holland, Paul Zack, Christopher Morgan, Chip Broecker, Martin Revello, Felix Tromp, Jeffrey Evans

Men’s 7.5 Division

Final: Alachua County (Jonesville Tennis Center, Gainesville) d. Pinellas County (St. Pete Tennis Center) 2-1

No. 1 Doubles: Volker Mai/Jorg Bungert (Alachua) d. John Green/Robert Sinclair 6-3, 6-4
No. 2 Doubles: David Kenny/Mark Nasworthy (Pinellas) d. Kevin Athearn/Muhammad Ali 7-5, 7-5
No. 3 Doubles: Anand Paul/Scott Thompson (Alachua) d. Jan Ambrozy/Thomas Shevlin 6-1, 6-2

Alachua Season Roster: Sorin Fratila (captain), Kevin Athearn, Lawrence Hooghuis, Tony Vo, Jorg Bungert, Frederic Davis, Anand Paul, Muhammad Ali, Fernando Rodriguez, Scott Thompson, Volker Mai, Oscar Leyva

Men’s 6.5 Division

Final: Collier County (The Players Club & Spa, Naples) finished ahead of Marion County (Ft. King Tennis Center, Ocala) 3-1 to 2-2 in round robin play

Collier Season Roster: James Biafro (captain), Larry Snyder, Ed Zier, Jim Kedrowski, Jack Santoro, Bob Morris, John Simpson, Todd Bergstrom, Tim Sampson, Jim Baker, Jeff Williams, Andrew Shields



Hillsborough further separated itself at No. 1 after the Combo 50 & Over Sectionals with Broward, Duval and Pinellas counties holding in a three-way tie for second place. The USTA Florida League Championship Cup is awarded to the county with the most league sectionals titles during the 2018 season (standings through Nov. 13, recent winners in bold):

1. Hillsborough County (8 titles) — 55&Over-M3.5/4.0/4.5,W4.5, X18&Over-10.0, X40&Over-7.0, 18&Over-M5.0+, Combo 50&Over-M8.5

2T. Broward County (6) — 40&Over-M3.5/W3.5, 18&Over-M4.0, X18&Over-6.0/7.0/9.0
2T. Duval County (6) — 65&Over-W6.0, 55&Over-W3.0, 18&Over-W2.5/W.4.5/M4.5/W5.0+
2T. Pinellas County (6) — 65&Over-W7.0/8.0, 55&Over-W3.5/4.0, 40&Over-W4.5+, Combo 50&Over-W7.5

5. Collier County (5) — 65&Over-M7.0/8.0, 40&Over-W4.0, 18&Over-W4.0, Combo 50&Over-M6.5

6. Miami-Dade County (3) — X40&Over-9.0, 40&Over-M4.0, 18&Over-W3.0

7T. Leon County (2) — 40&Over-M3.0, 18&Over-M3.0
7T. Orange County (2) — 40&Over-M4.5+, 18&Over-M3.5

9T. Alachua County (1) — Combo 50&Over-M7.5
9T. Escambia County (1) — X40&Over-6.0
9T. Martin County (1) — X40&Over-8.0
9T. Okaloosa County (1) — X18&Over-8.0
9T. Osceola County (1) — 40&Over-W3.0
9T. Sarasota County (1) — Combo 50&Over-W8.5
9T. Seminole County (1) — 18&Over-W3.5

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: Dec. 1, Combo 18 & Over 6.5/8.5, 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.