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2 Adult League teams reach state

Two local men's teams are a step closer to national competition.

Last month, eight local teams competed in Longboat Key in the three-day USA Adult League West Regional Championships, with two returning as champions and three finishing second.

Regional champions included the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg's 3.5 team and the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club's 4.0 squad. Finishing as runners-up were the Racquet Club's 4.5 men's team, Feather Sound Country Club's 3.0 women's team, and the Renaissance Vinoy's 3.5 women's team.

The women's 4.5 squad from McMullen in Clearwater was third, as was the men's 5.0 squad based at the Treasure Island Golf, Tennis and Recreation Center. Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club's 4.0 women's team placed fourth.

The Racquet Club 3.5 men helped themselves by defeating two-time regional champion Hunter's Green 4-1 on the play of Mike Williams and John McQuillen in singles, Scott Stewart and Scott Johnston in No. 1 doubles, and Jack Weldon and Earl Gehant in No. 3 doubles. The Racquet Club also beat Bonita Springs and Fort Myers 4-1 and was to challenge Sarasota in its final match but a mixup in playing time forced a default by the Sarasota team.

"This was one of the best weekends of tennis," said Bob Dickerson, captain of the Racquet Club squad. "We knew Hunter's Green in Tampa would be our toughest team and we had kind of a lucky draw. We played them our first match after they had already had a match that morning.

"That match (with Hunter's Green) was a close one, as we expected it to be, and the other two matches were close with stiff competition as well."

This is the first trip to a state tournament for the Racquet Club team, which also includes Jeff Doty, Neil Voss, Vaughn Haight, Ray Scianci, Steve Uebel, Bob Wahl and George Ethan Ray, but the second for Bardmoor's 4.0 men's team (the first was in 1997).

Gene Crouse and John Beda were the most consistent pairing for Bardmoor, scoring victories in whatever positions they played, said team captain Dan Callahan. Also, Jeff Sprague and Richard Farci were both 3-1 in singles.

"It seemed someone different stepped up in each match and made the difference for us," said Callahan. "The championship wasn't wrapped up until nearly the end."

Rounding out the Bardmoor team are Mike Collins, Doug Godinho, Bill Simmers, Don Kirby, Tom Byrd, Brad Yerger, Tim Kahle and Matt Fox.

The USA Adult League state tournament is Aug. 13-15 in Altamonte Springs. Joining the Racquet Club and Bardmoor men's teams will be the Safety Harbor Spa 5.0 women's team, the Feather Sound 3.0 men's team, and possibly two 5.5 men's teams.

JUNIORS AT NATIONALS: Alexandria Liles reached the quarterfinal round in the girls 14-and-under division of the USTA National Clay Court Championships and advanced to the girls 14 doubles final with Anne Yelsey. The duo lost in three sets in the national final.

Michael Murray reached the round of 32 in the boys 18s while both Reinaldo Valor and Aleksey Bubis advanced to the round of 16. Bubis then teamed with Brandon Wagner of Tampa and reached the round of 16 in doubles.

Former St. Petersburg resident Kelly McCain was a finalist in the girls 18s, as was Wesley Chapel's Sukhwa Young in the boys 14s.

Marc Sawyer and Fred Johnson teamed to win their first national doubles title in the Midwest Open Championships held last week near Chicago. They defeated a team from Ohio in straight sets in the boys 14 division.

USA TEAM TENNIS: Pinellas County had nine of the 100 co-ed teams in last weekend's USTA Florida Section State Championships held in Lakeland. The south-county league sent five, including four from Lakewood Country Club and one from the Treasure Island Golf, Tennis and Recreation Center. The north-county league sent four.

Treasure Island's 12-and-under team finished second in its division, as did the North Pinellas 1402 team in the 14s. The East Lake Eliminators won the 18s and the North Pinellas 1402 squad also was named winner of the Sportsmanship Award. These three teams are now eligible to enter the second annual Georgia Florida Team Challenge Oct. 2-3 in Jacksonville.

Playing for the Treasure Island team were Michael Kopelman, Chad Fuss, Jason O'Hara, Alexia Lavely, Kaitlin Holdstein and Amber Maggio. Phil Girardi was the team coach.

SINGLES WINNERS: Joan Simmons of St. Petersburg and Ed Jagger of Seminole outplayed their singles competition in last month's state-sanctioned Adult Tournament at the Pro Star Tennis Club in Clearwater. Simmons won the women's 30-and-over title and Jagger won the men's 30s. Joy Ackerman of Pinellas Park was a finalist in the women's 30s but retired in the third set. Tara Goedjen of Oldsmar reached the women's open final.

The next area adult age-division tournament is Aug. 14-16 at Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater. Singles and doubles, as well as husband-wife age divisions, are offered. Call Donna Weiss at 791-8415.