June 15th, 2015

Panhandle Tennis Blog — June Florida News Round-up


10 and Under Tennis at Gallery Night in Pensacola

Once a month on a Friday in Pensacola, an evening of art and entertainment in downtown Pensacola is offered free of charge and showcases the work and talents of between 30-50 local artists in a number of downtown venues. The event starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 9p.m. However, the downtown streets are blocked to traffic until midnight.

Into this unique setting, USPTA professional and USTA Florida award-winning teacher Rita Dotson has injected 10 and Under Tennis. Dotson sets up an 18-foot net in the street and from 5-7 p.m. encouraged anyone who came along, particularly the kids, to give it a try. She first tried this approach in March, with the help of Rachel LaPorta and Felicity Moore, and a few tried out the tennis. She was rained out in April, but on May 22 a turnout of 25 kids and several adults tried their hands at 10 and Under Tennis. This time Rita’s son, Jayce, and husband, Ed, were the assistants. Kids signed a sheet and were given application forms for the PSA Racquet Round-Up.

This is truly a great way to showcase the ease of trying out 10 and Under Tennis. Dotson is going to skip the June and July events but come back in August for another performance.

Niceville’s Brett Beattie Named USPTA Florida District 1 (Panhandle) Professional of the Year

D'Aleo (left) with Brett Beattie Receiving Award

D’Aleo (left) with Brett Beattie receiving his award

Northwest Florida juniors coach Brett Beattie has been named USPTA Florida District 1 (Panhandle) Professional of the Year according to district president Joe D’Aleo.

Beattie is the founder of Emerald Coast Tennis at Bluewater Bay and is headquartered in Bluewater Bay’s Gleneagles neighborhood.

Beattie conducts business in a small, fun, personalized court setting, promising his players “You won’t get lost in the shuffle!”

Congratulations Brett.

PSA’s 38th Racquet Round-Up Began June 2

The 38th Annual Racquet Round-Up presented by the Pensacola Sports Association (PSA) kicked off with a three-day event at Roger Scott Tennis Center in Pensacola on June 2, 2015. Two additional events were held at Naval Air Station Pensacola (NAS) on June 8th and Hollice T. Williams Park on June 10th. Two additional events will be held on June 17th at the University of West Florida and on June 18th and 19th at Shoreline Park in Gulf Breeze, Fla.

All activities are free to the kids attending, and in addition to the tennis instruction there were other giveaways as well.

At the Roger Scott event, over 200 kids participated and got their first introduction to tennis.

The NAS and Hollice T. Williams events were plagued by rain, forcing the activities to move indoors. At the NAS Youth Center about 75 kids registered. The Holice T. Williams Park event moved indoors to the Fricker Community Center. Kids from the Cobb Community Center that were supposed to attend got caught in an administrative mix-up and wound up on another field trip and missed out. About 60 kids participated at the Fricker Center.

With two events still to come, the annual goal of 600 or more participants should be easily attained.

12 Panhandle Juniors at The USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” State Championships

Twelve Panhandle junior tennis players that received entry into the USTA Florida “Bobby Curtis” State Championships:
Boys 18, Chris Ephron, Pensacola;
Boys 16, Jacob Baehr, Pensacola;
Boys 12, Patrick Ling and Justin Lyons, Pensacola, Jarrett Mclure, Santa Rosa Beach;
Girls 14, Caraline Scheufler, Gulf Breeze and Elena Weaver, Pace;
Girls 12, Isabel Ceydeli, Panama City, Ariane Cortes, Lynn Haven, McKenzie Petty, Destin and Annalisa Smith, Pensacola;
Girls 10, Gabby Goyins.

Recognized as one of the toughest USTA Sectional Championships in the nation, it is an accomplishment just to get in.

Elena Weaver, #2 seed, defeated #1 seed Kiana Rizzolo 6-2, 6-1 to finish 5th in the Girls 14 division. Both girls were upset in the quarterfinals.

Gabby Goyins won the West Division of the Girls 12 event. Gabby lost her first-round match to Sophia Fenster from Palm Beach Gardens 4-5(3), 5-4(6), 7-10 but won four matches in the West Division including a 4-2, 4-0 win over Juliette Zamora from Plantation to take the title. She never lost more than two games a match after that first round

Isabel Ceydeli won a main draw match and a back draw match. Chris Ephron, Justin Lyons and Caraline Scheufler won a match in the tournament. Ephron had to withdraw from his consolation match with a third-set injury.

Again, congratulations to all who got into the tournament. I’m sure the lessons learned at the “Bobby Curtis” will be applied in future tourneys.

Panhandle Tennis Directors Caton and Sakey Recoveries Progressing Nicely

Roger Scott Director of Tennis Bruce Caton and Club II Director of Tennis Brian Sakey are both on the road to recovery from major surgeries. Caton was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and had the tumor removed on June 11, 2015. He is recovering at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. All signs are good so far.

Brian Sakey was diagnosed with colon cancer back in mid-January of 2015. He had a portion of his colon removed along with the cancer, but cancer was subsequently discovered in his liver. The chemotherapy for the liver cancer has been ongoing since mid-February and has reduced the cancer to almost nothing. He has two more chemo treatments over the next four weeks and then his status and treatments will be evaluated.

All of our prayers and thoughts are for successful recoveries for both men.

MacDonald and Bleiler Pass Away

Two of the Pensacola area’s tennis stalwarts passed away in the last couple of weeks. Paul Bleiler (92) of Gulf Breeze died on May 29, 2015 while Roger MacDonald (84) of Pensacola died on June 5, 2015. Both men were U.S. Navy veterans.

Bleiler could always be found on the area’s tennis courts playing with anyone who would hit. Bleiler played college tennis at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Penn. He won the 2003 USTA Men’s 80 Indoor doubles, was third in the 2003 USTA Grass Court doubles and a finalist in the 2012 USTA Men’s 90 Clay Court Singles. This writer played many an enjoyable doubles match with Paul.

MacDonald was perhaps Pensacola’s biggest sports fan and supporter in addition to being a fine tennis player. He attended area college and high school sporting events up until two days before his death. He had been part owner in a Pensacola minor league basketball team. He was active in many civic, church and business groups around Pensacola.

In 1972 he donated a kidney to his brother, then 20 years later his remaining kidney failed and he had a transplant. When Roger found out that my good friend and tennis player, Pat Stone, in Tallahassee had had a liver transplant, he grabbed up Pat and off they went to the U.S. and World Transplant Games, winning several medals at those yearly events.

Both of these outstanding will be missed so much in our area. God rest them both.