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    Competition heats up for area players

    By NANCY MORGAN
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 17, 2003

    This month brings state mixed doubles team competitions and national individual championships.

    Last weekend, three local squads challenged for bragging rights in the Florida Sectional Senior Mixed Doubles Championships in Daytona Beach.

    This week, juniors are in Palm Springs, Calif., for the 36th annual Easter Bowl Championships.

    Later this month, two more teams will play in the Florida Sectional Adult Mixed Doubles Championships at Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

    In senior mixed doubles, Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club was the state runner-up in the 7.5 division, Westin Innisbrook Resort placed fourth in its 6.5 flight and Phil Green Tennis Academy was third in 8.5.

    In flight competition among six squads, Bardmoor edged Palm Coast to advance to the final.

    After five matches, both were 4-1 overall with 11 individual wins and 4 losses. The tie-breaker was decided by fewest sets lost, with Bardmoor losing nine and Palm Coast 10.

    In the final, West Palm Beach defeated Bardmoor 3-0. The runner-up finish qualified Bardmoor for the USTA Intersectional Senior Mixed Doubles, Nov. 7-9 in Pensacola.

    "We've had the same team the last two or three years," Bardmoor captain John Beda said. "We basically like the social group and getting couples together.

    "In mixed doubles, you use more finesse and play nice, as opposed to using more power for placement like in men's doubles," he said. "I think that's why we do well -- we're team-oriented and enjoy playing together."

    The other Bardmoor members are Victoria Tuller, Mary Jane Evertz, Mickie and John Gelestor, Mike Carrigan, Gale and Larry Nickerson, Tom and Angela Lincicome, Rhonda Thompson and Les Spang.

    Gainesville won the 6.5 and 8.5 state senior titles.

    The juniors traveled west for the prestigious Easter Bowl, which provides a venue for national and college coaches to see the players of the future.

    It is the only major tournament that includes three age divisions for girls and boys, all with 128-player draws.

    "This is my third Easter Bowl, and the draws are always tough," said Largo's Christina Liles, the girls 14-and-under seventh seed. "Lately, I've been working on a lot of fitness, along with getting more depth on my shots and being more consistent," she said.

    This week's Bowl is the first for Oldsmar's Morgan Frank. Competing in the girls 14 class, the 13-year-old hopes her improved topspin on groundstrokes will combine with her more consistent serve.

    "Most of all, I want to make a good showing," Frank said. "I know there are good players there, and I plan to play the singles and doubles to get as many matches as I can."

    Other seeded competitors are Wesley Chapel's Marc Spicijaric, No. 1 in boys 16; and Saddlebrook's Sukhwa Young, No. 8 in the 18 division. Also entered are Brianna Williams (18); Yumi Hasegawa (No. 14); Alexis Dorr, Alexis Kreplick, Zoe Kent and Lindsay Gray (16); Konstantin Lazarov (No. 6); Timothy Neilly (18); George Navas (16); and Jeff D'Adamo, Justin Herzig and No. 7 Clint Bowles (14).

    Through Monday's matches, Liles had won three rounds and Spicijaric two to remain in the main draw.

    In other area results, Dorr (No. 14 in girls 14) and Bowles (boys 14) each won two rounds.

    Winning a round before falling to the back draw were Brianna Williams (18); Lindsay Gray, Frank and Alexis Kreplick (14); Neilly (18); George Navas (16); and Herzig (14).

    Later this month, Bardmoor takes nearly the identical squad to the Florida Sectional Adult Mixed Doubles Championships. Also competing for Bardmoor, which includes senior team members, is Laura Rustin.

    Joining Bardmoor in the April 25-27 state tournament is the 8.5 combined East Lake Woodlands-Countryside Country Club squad.

    "This is our first time with a combined team from Countryside and East Lake and the first for any of us to get this far," captain John Noeske said. In addition to Noeske are Jane Robinson, Susan Angell Silva, Robin Meinrod, Donna Roberts, Ray Hirsch and Mark Curran.

    ROOKIE ACTION: Bardmoor played host to 59 juniors in the Suncoast Tennis Foundation's Grand Prix Circuit Grand Finale earlier this month.

    The girls winners included Seminole's Nicole Ashley in the 16-and-under division, Holly Lynch (14), Tiffany Easton (12) and Julianne Gruber (10). Posting victories on the boys side were Largo's Robert Marcynski (16) and Seminole's Stefan Serf (14), Andres Preda (12) and Robert Perry (10).

    In last weekend's East Lake Junior Rookie I state-sanctioned tournament at East Lake Woodlands, St. Petersburg's Amena Hamid captured the girls 14 singles title. Agatha Ambrozy won the 10 class. Other singles winners were Melissa Narzissenfeld (12), Trevor Hubbard (14), Brian Szeto (12) and Zachary Bandes (10).

    NET SHOTS: Competing in the 12-and-under boys and girls USTA Super National Spring Championships in Delray Beach through Sunday are area players Alexandra Cercone, Danielle Day, Alexandra Moreno-Kaste, Tyler Snook and Tyler Brown. Competition includes a modified compass draw for the 128-player singles field and 64-team doubles.

    Local players entered in the April 26-28 Gator Bowl Championships, a national junior singles tournament in Ponte Vedra, include Frank, Monica Sly, Anthony Barrancotto, Ryan Buchannan, Haley Dodson, Joel Samaha, George Navas, Nicholas Smith and Sheharyar Wali.

    In the recent F.A.J. Super Series at Cheval Country Club, Barrancotto defended his boys 10 top seed with a straight-set championship victory over No. 3 Joseph Valdes of Tampa. Nicholas Berning, No. 2 in boys 16, upset top-seeded Bowles 6-1, 6-1. Local finalists included Frank (girls 16), Amanda Becker (18) and Danielle Collins (10). In doubles, Collins and Amber Li captured the girls 12 title, Garrett Betsarakis and Snook won boys 12 and Samaha and Herzig topped the 14 competition.

    In the Shipwatch Tennis Club men's doubles championship, Henry VanDrunen and John Finlayson played Al Smith and Joe Bulone. Smith and Bulone were crowned the champs.

    Shipwatch finished first in the South Pinellas Ladies Doubles League 3.5-4.0 division. Feather Sound Country Club was a close second. Playing for Shipwatch were captain Gaile Kimpel, Sylvia Scoble, Denise Rosenblatt and Carole Wilhelm.

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