John Miller of New Port Richey and his teammates on the 5.0 men's team based at the Innisbrook Hilton Resort are looking forward to this week's Adult League regional championships in Longboat Key.
"We have a bunch of real strong players," said Miller, a graduate of Hudson High School. "We'll use that depth to our advantage this weekend."
Innisbrook's first match is Friday afternoon against Naples. Matches Saturday and Sunday with teams from Sarasota and Fort Myers will determine which team advances to the U.S. Tennis Association state championships next month in Orlando.
Miller and Mark Wagner will share the one singles position for the Innisbrook team in the regional. Scott Spoeryl and Jim Dundee are an experienced doubles team, as are Alex Deeb and Dave Bullock. Richard Scott, Ron Shashy, Bob DeFranco, Bob Ironsmith, Tim Wahl and David Kall also share in the team's two doubles positions.
"We don't know exactly what to expect this weekend," said Miller, "but we feel pretty confident that with our depth, strength and tournament experience it will take an exceptional team to beat us."
Other area teams participating in regionals are women's teams from Feather Sound (3.0), Countryside (3.5), East Lake Woodlands (4.0), McMullen (4.5) and Bardmoor (5.0). Other men's teams are from Feather Sound (3.0), East Lake (3.5), McMullen (4.0) and the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg (4.5).
ZONAL TEAMS: Pinellas and Pasco juniors travel to Winston-Salem, N.C., this week to compete in the USTA Zone Team Championships for 16-and-under players. Selected for Florida's 20-player teams were Kyle Nelson for the boys and Jennifer Overstreet, Lauren Scaglione and Jackie Spicijaric for the girls. Competition is July 27 to Aug. 1.
Danny McCain of Largo, ranked 10th in the boys 18 division, is headed to Columbia, S.C., for the intersectional team competition July 28-Aug. 3. He will compete on a team of six.
Christa Grey and Janet Walker are on the girls intersectional team and will compete July 30-Aug. 2 in San Rafael, Calif.
RALLY IN TAMPA: Forty teams of eight players each converge on the Hillsborough Community College tennis complex this weekend for the annual National Junior Tennis League Rally, the largest in the United States. The Rally is open to all active NJTL chapters in Florida and provides singles and doubles round-robin competition for children learning the tennis basics.
Active area NJTL chapters are in the Citrus County Recreation Department, Hernando County Recreation Department, Kent Jewish Community Center, Dunedin Middle School, Carwise Middle School, Palm Harbor Recreation Department, Tampa Inner-City Youth, St. Petersburg PAL, St. Petersburg Tennis Center, Campbell Park and St. Petersburg Junior College.
Scheduled to attend this weekend's Rally are Kent, Dunedin and Carwise middle schools, Citrus and Tampa Inner-City Youth.
DISTRICT MEETING: A meeting for USTA/Florida Section District 12 is at 7 p.m. Monday at Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater. District 12 includes Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties. For more information, call 934-9604.