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Amateurs and pros turn out for benefit event

By NANCY MORGAN
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 23, 2002

The biggest event of the weekend was about helping a good cause rather than competition as the Treasure Island Tennis and Yacht Club hosted the Raymond James Charity Pro/Am Tournament to benefit All Children's Hospital.

"We wanted to create interest and enthusiasm in all the activities the entire weekend," chair Ann Worthington said. "With that combination, we were bound to be successful."

Worthington praised the efforts of her support crew of volunteers, such as Karen Winiecki's recruitment of volunteers, Darlene Grayson's procurement of sponsors and Tony Ruggiero's forte, event planning.

"Tom Grayson and Jeff Chambers were responsible for getting the pros to play and Donna Connolly found the amateurs," Worthington said. She also praised volunteers Mary Pat Howley, Ed Setaro and Helen Avers.

The weekend kicked off with Dave Kozlowski, a USPTA Master teaching professional, serving as the master of ceremonies at a cocktail party Saturday. Throughout the evening, Fred Whaley and Rick Murray supervised an auction and the formation of the A and B division teams. Finishing first in the B women Sunday were Laurie Tinnell and Marlene Mokracek, followed by Fabina Taverna and Johanna Patterson; Rachael Sanchez and Lynn Riffe; and Patricia Kolendo and Terri Medvick.

Ed Jagger and Pete Jernigan were first among the men in the B division with Scott Dei and Larry Nickerson finishing second; Rhett Rollyson and Sal Campanaro third; and Shikha Singh and John Avers fourth.

Highlighting the weekend was an exhibition match with former professional Gigi Fernandez teaming with Jeff Davis to play Taverna and Chambers.

"I knew the event was for a great cause, so I was happy to participate," said Fernandez, University of South Florida's women's coach.

Fernandez and Davis were taken to the limit by Taverna and Chambers but won in a tiebreaker.

After the exhibition, the pros lined up again to compete in the A division through the afternoon. USF players Taverna with Carol Whaley; Kolendo with Judy Grim; and Luisa Obando with Gail Nickerson finished 1-2-3. Janet Newberry Howe and Lynn Pratt were fourth.

Singh teamed with Ken Cherven to win the men's A, followed by Rick Crockett and Jeff Winkler; Rollyson and Mike Reilly; and Dei and Frank Struchen.

"Everything went off real well and everyone seemed to have a good time," Struchen said. "The play kept moving quickly and you had a chance to play against a lot of different teams. It's amazing that some of the pros are really huge hitters and they can place the ball anywhere they want."

The results of the fundraising effort will be announced next week.

NET SHOTS: Garrett Betsarakis reached the boys 10-and-under quarterfinal round in this month's Junior Singles Designated Tournament in Orlando. Anthony Barrancotto played to the boys 10 consolation semifinal.

Nik Sukhasam won the men's 35-and-over singles title in last weekend's St. Petersburg Tennis Center Adults Senior Vets Tournament in St. Petersburg. In the final, Sukhasam rallied from a first-set loss to win in three. Mike Stegmayer captured the men's 65 title in straight sets.

John Beda was a finalist in the men's 55, as was Mike Panayotti in the 70. To reach the final, Panayotti upset No.2 Hank McCusker in three sets. Earl Concors was the 70 consolation winner and Joel Samaha won the open consolation.

ROOKIES CIRCUIT: The Suncoast Tennis Foundation is sponsoring a state-sanctioned Rookie Grand Prix series beginning Nov.2 at the St. Petersburg Country Club. Players 16 and under will compete in a compass draw or round robin format using eight-game pro sets in the singles competitions.

Contact the SPCC, 867-9105, by Oct.31 to enter. Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club (906-4752) will host a Rookie Grand Prix Nov.16-17.

GREEN DEVIL CLASSIC: The St. Petersburg Tennis Center hosts this weekend's Fall Classic for adults. Proceeds from the singles tournament for men and women will benefit the St. Petersburg High teams. The boys and girls teams were district runners-up last year with 13-2 and 9-6 records, respectively.

To enter, contact Green Devil coach Alan Turnquist, 896-8636.

COMING UP: The Pete Wolfberg Super Series for 18 and under and the 16 singles and doubles juniors begins Saturday at Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater. Call 791-8415 today to enter. ... Seminole Lake Tennis Center hosts the Super Series for 14-and-under divisions beginning Saturday. Call 394-1733 today. ... East Lake Woodlands hosts its Super Series Nov.2-4 for all junior age divisions. Call 785-2212. ... The 10th Annual Tennis Classic to benefit the Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco is Nov.8-10 at the Paul Kronk Tennis Center in Crescent Oaks. To enter the men's, women's and mixed doubles event, call the club, 934-6920.

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