Participation numbers were low, but there was no limit to the competitive intensity during last week's Good Life Games.
The games featured nearly 30 different sporting contests for athletes 50-and-older, with the winners qualifying for the 2002 Florida Senior Games, scheduled for December in the Lakeland area.
"I really got inspired watching the different divisions," said Linda Kettell, tennis director at the host Southwest Complex in Largo.
The competition, consisting of about 40 players, resulted in 11 singles champions, 8 doubles and 1 mixed team.
Largo's Helen Pugh had competed in other Good Life contests, advancing to the Florida Senior Games. A singles victory last week in the 70-74 division assures Pugh of another state berth.
"I've always loved singles but can't seem to get enough matches," Pugh said. "I wish more had played in this year's games, because tennis is surely a game for a lifetime."
Others capturing singles titles were Millie Steckman (77-90), Ruth Felmeth (60-69) and Nancy Morgan (55-59).
Ann DiLeone, 89, of Palm Harbor did not win her match. But because she was the only entrant in her division, she played in 75-79 to qualify for the Florida Senior Games.
"I've played in the Good Life Games since I moved here in 1993," DiLeone said. "I am passionate about tennis and feel like something is missing if I don't get to play."
Dunedin's Roger Gentilhomme was among the oldest players and probably one of the most experienced.
Gentilhomme, 92, has captured two national titles even though the retired textile engineer didn't start playing until 1975. Since there was no 90-and-over class, he played and won the 85-90 crown.
Joining Gentilhomme with gold medals were Ted Heisler (80-84), Bud Steckman (75-79), Richard Tasin (70-74), Dennis McDaniel (65-69), James Moszczynski (60-64) and Rick Whissel (55-59).
Whissel paired with Carol Levin to win the 60-64 mixed doubles championship.
In women's doubles, Diane Galemmo and Maureen Sternberg won the 60-64 division. Other winners were Joan Holland and Phyllis Gary (65-69) and Joyce Shumate and Charlotte Whitley (70-74).
"I hadn't played in the Good Life Games before, but Charlotte had and encouraged me to play," Shumate said. "It's too bad there weren't more players, but I entered to have fun."
Men's doubles champions included Heisler and Harry Church (80-84), Lou DeBee and John Cronin (75-79), Dick Durstein and Bud Lytle (70-74), Bill Carey and Mesud Smailagic (60-64) and David Mitchell and Dick Checket (50-54).
MIXED DOUBLES: McMullen's 8.5 adult squad completed its season with a 9-0 record in the six-team USA League Tennis program. Phil Green Tennis Academy's 8.5 seniors (6-1) finished first, and Royal Racquet Club survived a playoff to win the 7.5 senior division. McMullen's members are captain Anh Thu Burks, Jane Robinson, Elizabeth Leigh, Joan Simmons, Rachael Sanchez, Clark Higgs, Mike Carrigan, Tony Crouch, David Bjornson and Dave Gunn. The PGTA squad consists of captain Carol Levin,Judy and Pat Siracusa, Joan and Bill Christensen, Morena DeLosh, Rick Whissel, Marilyn McCurdy, John Bruynell, Bob Newhouse and John Ekers. Royal Racquet Club is comprised of captain David Wisotsky, Kyle Ann Lloyd, Cindy and Buzz Cooper, Beverly and Jacob Voreis, Kiki Jacobsen, Deborah McCleery, Pam Bascio, John Arnold, Jim Liles and Joshua Magidson. Sunday, the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club 7.5 teams will play to determine the champion. Division winners advance to state tourneys in April.
SUNCOAST SINGLES: Bardmoor clinched the women's league title last week. Jayne Lewis (No. 1) and Liz Proctor earned two points in the team's final match, helping overtake East Lake for first place. Beth Miller and captain Jacki Simon round out the Bardmoor squad, which finished with 33 points. East Lake had 32, Vinoy II 25, Vinoy I 18 and St. Petersburg Country Club 14.
NET NOTES: After nearly 15 years as the East Lake Woodlands director, Bob Butterfield has accepted a similar position at Franco's Tennis and Fitness in New Orleans. Megan Frank and Evangelina Soriano won the women's open doubles title in the Spring Adult Classic at East Lake. Soriano reached the semifinal round in singles, as did Anastasiya Sokolova. Making a men's doubles championship appearance was Jonathan Kinsella and Alex Gillott. Competing in Snowbird, Utah, Kevin Manning played to the semifinal round of the USTA National Indoor Championships in the men's 45-and-over singles and to the semifinal round in the consolation draw. Largo Tennis Center will have its Tennis Survivor Social on Saturday. Call 403-8588.
SALVADORE FUND: Tennis lost a friend March 2 with the passing of Bernadine Salvadore. The Friends of Tennis of the YMCA of North Pinellas established a Bernadine Salvadore Tennis Scholarship Fund. It will be directed to YMCA of North Pinellas programs and players. For information, call 772-9622.
SUPER SENIOR LEAGUE: Westin Innisbrook Resort captured the women's 3.5 title with a 5-1 record. Team members include Sternberg, Jean McKenzie, Holland, Gary, Kathie Roberts, Anne Hammond, Judy Murphy, Marilyn Linker, Nancy Kraemer, Midge Spaulding and Sue Luidens. In men's 3.5, a playoff is scheduled for Tuesday among the top two squads from the north and south divisions. The final is April 2. Phil Green Tennis Academy was 8-0 and Innisbrook 5-4 in the north. St. Petersburg Tennis Center and Shipwatch Tennis Club are the south leaders.