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Pasco seniors chase U.S. title

Last month, players from River Crossing Country Club represented Florida in the U.S. Tennis Association Adult League 3.5 National Championships in Palm Springs, Calif. This month, the majority of the same players are again representing the state in the USTA Senior Doubles National Championships in Tucson, Ariz.

"We'll have a better chance this time," said Conrad Berhorster, a member of both squads. "At least, all the players are at least 50 years old as well as at the 3.5 playing level. The difference in the age really restricted us before; we were playing 22-24 year olds and they were outrunning us."

Berhorster, 53, is the baby of the team, which departs Wednesday. The balance of the group is retirement age and older.

Berhorster came to the U.S. in 1982, leaving a family owned sausage business in Germany. Tennis was played sporadically by the 6-foot-7 athlete until he moved to Port Richey.

"I've always been a sports fan and played tennis a little in Germany," Berhorster said, "but I stopped and started at different times. Of all the sports, though, tennis has always been my favorite."

Berhorster's brothers continue to run the family business that started in 1833, he said.

Joining Berhorster on the Florida team at nationals is captain Joe Gari, Don Bucci, Les Drew, Jerry McDowell, Bob McKenzie, Dick Roberts and Albert Jerome.

Florida faces teams from Hawaii and the eastern U.S. Friday, and teams from the southwest and mid-Atlantic areas on Saturday. To reach Sunday's semifinals, Florida must finish first or earn the second-best overall record among the remaining teams. In all, 15 teams are competing. The championship is scheduled Sunday at 11 a.m.

Junior mixed: Alex Okulski of Odessa competed in the 18-and-under division with Ghada Skaff of Tampa in this month's Junior State Mixed Doubles Championships held in Boca Raton. Okulski and Skaff lost in three sets to eventual conso-clation winners Natalie Carratala and Graydon Oliver from Dade County.

State champions included Christa Grey of Seminole with partner Rafael Demesa from Key Biscayne in the 16-and-under.

Tennis annual meeting: Nearly 25 people from the Pinellas-Pasco-Hernando county area attended last weekend's 45th Annual Florida Tennis Association Meeting in Tampa. In all, nearly 250 volunteers attended.

Participating in the training for area school coordinators, whose role is to assist in the implementation of tennis in a school's curriculum, included Marie Maguire, Laverne Stephens, Judy Jeanette and Linda Crispino. Judy Murphy, assistant district director of the tri-county area, also attended.

K Swiss league note: Diane Galemmo, a member of the winning women's team in last summer's K Swiss Totally Tennis League, won a round-trip ticket to any location in the U.S. from Continental Airlines. Galemmo was one of eight players in the playoff eligible to win prizes in a drawing.

BATL scores: Pasco's A-2 team defended its undefeated record with a 5-0 win over Hunter's Green last week. Team A-3 was idle last week.

Nature Coast: Teams participating in the fall session of the Nature Coast League for men's and women's doubles include Timber Pines Tennis Club, Spring Hill and the Estates Of Beacon Woods. Each team consists of four doubles positions.

Captains for Timber Pines teams are Shirley Smolenski, Jean Lomurro, Don Doehnert and Joe Mireider. Wanda Bashan, Eric Ruzicka and Ed Link are captains for Spring Hill and Harold Wolfing is the captain for Beacon Woods.

Coming up: Adult sanctioned age-division tournament at St. Petersburg Tennis Center this weekend. Call 893-7301. Fall Junior Championships at East Lake Woodlands Nov. 5-7. Call 785-2212. The Second Annual Pasco Healthcare Tennis Classic is Nov. 12-13 at Crescent Oaks Golf and Tennis in Tarpon Springs. Call 869-7341. Frenchy's Gumbo Tennis Classic is Nov. 18-20 in Clearwater. Call 462-6144. 10th Annual American Heart Charity in Brooksville is Nov. 18-20. Call (904) 799-8999.