March 16th, 2015

Panhandle Tennis Blog: March News


University of West Florida Coach Derrick Racine Gets 900th Win

The University of West Florida (UWF) men’s and women’s tennis teams took a Spring Break road trip out West to face three opponents, #17 UC San Diego, #42 Point Loma Nazarene and #2 Hawaii Pacific. The first match for the #7 UWF women against UC San Diego resulted in a 7-2 victory and Head Coach Derrick Racine’s 900th college career win.

Coach Derrick Racine and his UWF Women's Team

Coach Derrick Racine and his UWF Women’s Team

Racine has won 747 matches at UWF and 153 previously as head coach of both teams at the University of Mobile, Alabama.

Racine is a five-time ITA National Coach of the Year as well as an 11-time ITA South Region Coach of the Year. Coach Racine’s teams have won 25 Gulf South Conference titles and he has earned 21 Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year honors.

On the same day Racine’s #1 ranked men’s team earned their 37th consecutive win with a 9-0 defeat UC San Diego.

UWF Men’s Tennis Win Streak Ends at 38

On Friday, March 13, the #1 UWF men’s tennis team’s win streak came to a halt at 38 victories with a 4-5 defeat at the hands of #2 ranked Hawaii Pacific. The UWF men now stand 9-1 for the season (4-0 in Gulf South Conference play). UWF was undefeated in 2014, beating Hawaii Pacific in the NCAA Division II final in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

For a complete match wrap-up of the men’s match click on the following link:

The #7 UWF women’s team lost 3-6 to #6 Hawaii Pacific on the same day. The UWF women are 7-2 (4-0 in the Gulf South Conference).

For a complete wrap-up of the women’s match click on the following link:

Brookwood (GA) and Cypress Creek Defend Titles at 2015 Blue Angel Southern Invitational High School Tennis Tournament in Pensacola

Twelve boys and 12 girls high school tennis teams from 14 schools from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi competed in the 3rd Annual Blue Angel Southern Invitational.

The Brookwood boys from Snellville, Ga., and the Cypress Creek girls from Port Orange, Fla., defended their titles.

The tournament is developing into one of the premier high school tournaments in the country. Although it was very cold and windy for the first couple of hours on Friday, the weather turned out beautiful for tournament founders Michael Edge of Pensacola Washington and Geoff Watts of Pensacola Catholic, the host schools.

The girls’ final between Cypress Creek and New Orlean’s St. Mary’s Dominican was a nail biter all the way. The format for the tournament was six singles and three doubles. With the doubles already having been played, Cypress Creek trailed 3-4 with #5 and #6 singles on the court. After #6 won her match to tie things, #5 Danielle DuPuis, a freshman, fell behind 1-6 in the match. She rallied to win the second 6-3 and the third set tiebreaker 10-5 to be mobbed by her team and coach, Rita Gladstone.

The girls’ third place match went to Vestavia Hills of Birmingham, Ala., 9-0 over Winter Park, Fla.

The boy’s final was also hotly contested but the score wasn’t as close as the girls. Brookwood defeated Baton Rouge Catholic 6-3.

Third place went to Tallahassee Leon 5-4 over Gainsville Eastside.

Players enjoyed lunch on both Friday and Saturday as well as a cookout Friday night provided by the tournament.

Please enjoy the following video created by Anne Baehr, grandmother of Washington player Jacob Baehr. Naturally, the video is tilted toward Pensacola players but there are others as well and a beautiful scene of Roger Scott Tennis Center at the end.

Zenisek Wins Pensacola Adult Clay Court Designated Men’s Open

Jeff Zenisek of Jacksonville defeated Andrew Garman of Diamondhead, Miss., 6-2, 6-2 to win the Men’s Open singles title and the 10 points toward the USTA National 500 Men’s ranking at the Pensacola Clay Court Championships Adult Designated, held Feb. 27-March 1, 2015 at Roger Scott Tennis Center.

The tournament was one of the USTA National 500 Sectional tournaments for both men and women. However, only one woman entered.

Men's Open Winner Jeff Zenisek

Men’s Open Winner Jeff Zenisek

Zenisek and his partner, Graham Alrutz of Daytona defeated Chad Cage of Pensacola and William McClelland of Troy State University 6-4, 6-0 to win the Men’s Open Doubles.

One hundred four players participated in this year’s event, up 24 from 2014, and while cloudy and sometimes misty, the weather cooperated quite well. Tournament Director Bruce Caton, Tennis Director of Roger Scott Tennis Center, had plenty of food and refreshments throughout the tourney.

For complete results at the Pensacola Adult Clay Court Championships please go to:

Tennis-4-Everyone Provides Tennis and After-school Activities

Tennis-4-Everyone (started in 2001) is a program in Pensacola run by Rita Dotson, a USPTA-certified tennis pro. She won an award at the USTA Florida Annual meeting in December 2013 for 10 and Under Tennis Programs in Florida.

But Tennis-4-Everyone is more than an after-school tennis program. On Monday through Thursday at the Fricker Center, 20 to 30 kids get help with their school homework as well. Dotson has afternoon programs at four Pensacola area community centers: Fricker, Gull Point, and Cobb.

In these programs 10 and Under Tennis clinics are stressed. Most of these kids are from the inner city and really appreciate the homework help as well as the introduction to tennis. She has one local pro, Rachel LaPorta, who helps her out with the tennis clinics.

Dotson takes no money for herself in administrating these free programs.

Dotson insists she can fully fund Tennis-4-Everyone for $8,000 a year. Most of those funds come in the $100 here, $200 there-type of donations. The Youth Tennis Foundation of Florida (YTF) is proud to again donate $500 to the Tennis-4-Everyone program in 2015.