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PLAYERS OF ALL AGES TAKE ON STATE FOES

Fifteen local junior teams competed in state championships last month and six adult teams battle this weekend.

In the state junior competition in Lakeland, the St. Pete Beach Shark Bites, coached by Jack Carey, finished first in the 18-and-under intermediate competitive division, just ahead of the Authority representing the St. Petersburg Country Club.

"It was a great event and the kids had a fabulous time," Carey said. "Junior Team Tennis is a perfect way to get kids out playing together and improving their skills as they play."

Playing for the Shark Bites were Christine Hammerschmidt, Annie Ritch, Alexandra Feinberg, Jilian Gairing, Laura Winkler, Jordan Balcer, Ryan Richardson, Matt Ritch and Eric Hammerschmidt.

The Authority team members, coached by Sam Vuille, were Jessica Schroeder, Madison Kebler, Haviland Kleber, Kyle Sundstrom, Nick Voce, Brad Carver and Michael Tuthill.

In all, around 800 players on 99 teams competed in the three-day coed event in beginner to advanced divisions from the 10-and-under to 18 age divisions. Winners in the 14 and 18 intermediate and advanced divisions qualified for national competition in October. Twenty other teams advanced to next month's Georgia-Florida Team Challenge in Jacksonville.

St. Petersburg Tennis Center's Courier's Kids 18 intermediate squad of nine and McMullen 12 AA Monsters will compete in the Georgia-Florida contest in September.

SPTC players included Jasmyne Smith, Jerica Coley, Kristin Rebescher, Jibri Bailey, Nicholas Slater, Minesh Das, Rex Sowell, Margeaux Sowell and Andrew Schuyler.

Among the local teams competing at the state competition among the 99 were Bardmoor, PAL Power Aces, Vinoy, SPCC and McMullen Hot Shots in the 12 intermediate; McMullen Smokin Aces 14 intermediate; McMullen Mad Dogs advanced champion; Largo 14 intermediate competitive; SPCC 14 intermediate; Treasure Bay 18 intermediate; TB Pirates 18 advanced champion.

Beginning Friday in Daytona Beach, two women's and four men's local adult league teams compete for state titles.

Countryside 2.5 women compete in a doubles round robin with Pensacola and Daytona Beach while Countryside's 3.5 women's squad faces Sarasota, South Miami, Pensacola and Daytona Beach. Countryside 3.0 men face Jacksonville, Gainesville and Charlotte; Largo's 3.5 squad meets Broward, Bradenton, Gainesville and Jacksonville.

Seminole's 4.0 men challenge Emerald Coast, Jacksonville, Sarasota and South Miami and McMullen's 4.5 meets Pensacola, Jacksonville, Naples and Broward.

The teams with the best overall record in the round-robin competition claim the state championship and advance to national tournament action in October.

LEAGUE NEWS: The South County Pinellas Doubles League begins Sept. 19 for women's divisions and Sept. 28 for the men's. Call Sam Vuille, 867-9105, for details.

- The local USTA Mixed Doubles Fall League will include the adult for those at least 19 and super senior for those at least 60. Contact league coordinator Linda Meehan at meehan100@yahoo.com.

NET SHOTS: After finishing second in last month's junior designated contest in Tallahassee, Danielle Collins claimed the girls 18-and-under title in the designated at St. Augustine. No. 9 Julia Sikorski played to the 14 final. Earlier, Collins, 13, won the girls 18 round robin in the Tampa Bay Junior Championships.

- Jeff Davis upset the men's 50-and-over top seed to win the National Public Parks Championships in Fort Lauderdale last weekend. Marc Mazo defended his singles top seeding in the 55 and teamed with Alex Deeb to claim the 55 doubles title. Kevin Manning reached the men's 50 semifinal in the national contest.

COMING UP: Royal Racquet Club hosts a Summer Designated Classic beginning Saturday for men's and women's open, 35-and-over, 45 and 55 age divisions. Call 799-3200. ...Hot, Hot, Hot Rookie Tournament begins Saturday at Largo's Southwest Tennis Complex. Call 518-3125.

News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to namorgan@tampabay.rr.com; or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756.

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