Squads of players ages 50 to 70 took to the courts this month, with plenty of St. Petersburg area competitors in the mix.
Eighteen women's teams and 24 men's began competition in the senior league (players at least 50) last month and are now joined by 11 men's and five women's teams in the super senior league (players at least 60). Three men's teams are competing in the super 70 league and one women's team is waiting for an opponent to begin its play.
"There are just two teams in the 3.0, but the competition is close," said Pat Augustine, captain of the Feather Sound 3.0 senior squad. "It's just a good rivalry we've had with Countryside for a while - they have a lot of good players, so the matches are close."
Feather Sound's 3.0 team advanced to the state tournament last year and lost by a match. Hopes of a stronger finish are on their minds this season. First though, Augustine said, the team needs to capture the local league.
"With the level of competition we have locally, I would say whoever wins here has a good shot at state," Augustine said.
Augustine has several players who competed with him on a combo team that recently won a state championship. Along with Augustine on the Florida championship squad, and also on the senior team, are Dan Diloreto, Geiorge Ditzel, Tom Riley, Roger Rogers, Tom Schultz, Blane Sherk and George Frey. Rounding out the squad are Bob Shuck, Gregory Miller and Terry Sandman.
Suzanne Berns, filling in for Kathy Caffrey as captain of the Renaissance Vinoy's 3.5 senior women's team, said having fun has been key to their success. Currently in first place among nine teams, the Vinoy has just three matches left to complete its season.
Along with Caffrey and Berns are Vicki Fox, Marion Foelgner, Xuan Duong, Beth Frierson, Diana Elias, Ruth Ann Ott, Lynne Newton and Donna Guillaume. Newcomers include Linda Meehan, Patricia Miller, Teena Marks and Carol Craig.
Last weekend, the Vinoy raised its record to 4-1 with its 2-1 victory over Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club. Winning were Miller and Meehan in No. 1 and Fox and Duong in No. 3. Joyce Williams and Anneliese Tedeschi scored Bardmoor's only point in No. 2.
In the super senior 7.0 men's league, Shipwatch Tennis Club is tied for first with Safety Harbor Spa among six teams. A suspended match, scheduled to be completed today, will break the tie.
"We've lost one court, so we've got to win both from the Spa," Shipwatch team captain John Todiasaid. "We've both won four times in the league, so this could be the determining match, though we play everyone a second time."
The Shipwatch team won last year's local league and advanced to the state tournament. A second trip would be nice, Todia said.
Last year's players include Todia, Red Odden, John Finlayson, Leon Hibbs, Johnie Howard, Alan Smith, Henry Van Drunen and Charles Eikner. Rounding out the squad are William Grampp and Les Spang, along with newcomers Pete Mosher, Ed Mehew and Thomas Rinehart.
The Shipwatch 70-plus team is unbeaten in the three-team league and faces second-place Safety Harbor Spa on Thursday. Last month, Shipwatch beat the Spa 3-0.
Competition in the senior, super senior and super 70 leagues continues into mid March.
JUNIOR RANKINGS: Florida's top-ranked juniors of 2005 include area competitors: No. 11 Morgan Frank and No. 16 Christina Liles in the girl 18 and under; No. 3 Lindsay Dvorak and No. 6 Alexanra Cerconethe 16; No. 4 Cercone the 14; No. 3 Danielle Collins, No. 8 Julia Jonesand No. 20 Julianne Gruber the 12; No. 19 Angel Deng the 10; No. 5 George Navas the boys 18; tied at No. 12 Anthony Barrancotto the 12; No. 4 Alexander Saltiel the 10.
MARK THE DATES: The third annual pro-am, a fundraiser for the Climb for Cancer Foundation, is March 31-April 1 at the Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club. Call 392-1234, ext. 2.
+ The Good Life Games, a qualifier for the Florida Senior Olympics, is April 10-15 on the clay courts at Clearwater's McMullen Tennis Complex. Visit www.GoodLifeGames.org or call 669-1919.
COMING UP: Treasure Bay hosts its Treasure Island Rookie Tournament beginning Saturday. Call 360-6062. Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club hosts the USTA National Open for girls 14-and-under Friday-Tuesday. Call 391-2205. The St. Petersburg Tennis Center hosts its West Coast Super Senior Grand Prix designated event for men Feb. 20-26 and its Adult Championships Feb. 25-27 for men and women. Call 823-2225.
News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 796-5559; e-mailed to namorgan46msn.com, or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.