Treasure Bay juniors take on national competitors

Published October 4, 2006

This month, Treasure Bay's 18-and-under coed team travels to Tucson, Ariz., for the USTA Junior Team National Championship. Fifteen teams will challenge for the national team title.

The format is girls and boys singles and doubles and mixed doubles. The team that collects the most games among its five positions is the winner.

Treasure Bay's team of eight qualified for the national event after winning the USTA Florida Sectional JTT Championship in the 18 intermediate division.

"It's really exciting to be going, and especially for me since it's my last year to be able to play team tennis," said Jessica Cox, 18. "I've played at Treasure Bay since I was 8 and started team tennis when I was 10. What I really like is the fun we have as a team. It's not as competitive as tournaments, but when we're out there on the court, we definitely want to win."

Cox was a four-year member of Lakewood High's tennis team and is attending St. Petersburg College. Formerly a state-ranked junior player, Cox is looking forward to teaming with Alex Saxman for the girls doubles and may fill in for mixed doubles.

"We complement each other's style," Cox said. "Alex is a few years younger than me, so I kind of calm her. I like being at the net and she's more confident hitting hard from the baseline, so I help her come in."

Rounding out the girls on the squad are Mary Wynne and Simone Berger. Wynne will pair with TJ Holdstein for the majority of the mixed doubles and Berger will play singles.

"We're pretty much sticking with the lineup we used during the Lakeland tournament," said Phil Girardi, team coach and director of tennis at Treasure Bay. "We may do some switching around, but mainly we'll go with our regular lineup."

Tyler Windschauer and Robbie Nichols will play doubles and Michael Kopelman plays boys singles.

"It's quite exciting to have the opportunity to go to nationals," said Kopelman, 16. "Team tennis has a fun atmosphere, and since I've played team tennis since I was 10, I know a lot of the players. On our team, we've become good friends."

Kopelman is a junior at St. Petersburg Catholic and has been honing his skills for the singles competition at nationals. Last weekend, he competed in the boys 18 division of the state-sanctioned Bardmoor Battle.

"Team tennis has been a great experience for these kids," Girardi said. "This is the first year for Simone and Mary, but I believe Michael, Jessica and TJ may have played since they were 10. Beyond team tennis itself, a benefit is the whole team concept with the camaraderie and bonding.

"Since Lakeland, I've kept track of everyone playing and now with about three weeks until we go, we'll have regular team practices."

Anyone wishing to assist with the team's travel expenses should contact Girardi, 360-6062.

LEAGUE NEWS: Florida women's 5.0 adult league champion McMullen placed fourth in last weekend's USTA League National Championships in Palm Springs, Calif. After falling 3-0 to USTA section Southern in its opening-flight match, McMullen beat Missouri Valley and Northern 3-0 to reach the final four. A 2-1 semifinal loss to Middle States put McMullen in a playoff for third with Southern, which won 2-1.

Representing Florida were Margaret Roset, Sue Gutierrez, Gail Gibson, Anh Thu Burks and Kim Cashman. USTA section Southern California won the national title.

- In the USTA League 3.0 Women's National Championships in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend, Countryside Country Club posted a 2-2 flight record to finish third in its flight. The overall champion was Intermountain, which defeated Countryside 3-2 in flight action.

- Local league winners head to Daytona Beach this weekend for the Mixed Senior League Section Championships. Representing St. Petersburg/Clearwater are Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club 7.0 with Bob Hagerman as captain and Shipwatch Tennis Club 8.0 with Mickie Gelestor as captain.

Bardmoor competes in a six-team round robin to determine who advances to Sunday's final. Shipwatch challenges three to reach its final.

- Feather Sound beat Countryside 2-1 in a playoff to win the St. Petersburg/Clearwater adult 6.5 men's combo. Scoring wins were Kevin Cavanaugh and George Frey in No. 1 doubles and David Smith and George Ditzel in No. 2.

NET SHOTS: Florida came in second behind Southern in last weekend's USTA Men's Intersectional Championships in Jacksonville. Singles and doubles team competition included 35 and under, 45, 55, 65 and 75 divisions. Marc Mazo was captain of the winning 55 team, as was Mark Taylor for the 35 team. Peter Crewe played on the second-place 75 team and Kevin Manning and Ed Krauss were 2-1 in the 45.

SAVE THE DATE: The 22nd annual Charity Pro/Am is Oct. 20-21 at the Bardmoor. The event includes a women's and men's pro/am round robin and is a benefit for All Children's Hospital. For more information contact Bardmoor, 391-2205.

COMING UP: Think Pink Day, a tennis outing for breast cancer awareness, is Friday at the Largo Tennis Center. A Fed Cup format of play for up to 40 women is planned by Linda Kettell. Call Kettell at 403-8588 . ...The Halloween Bowl for juniors is Oct. 7-9 at Seminole Lake Tennis Academy. Call 394-1733. ...The SPTC Adults and Senior Vets is Oct. 13-15 at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Call 823-2225 to enter.

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. Please include phone number.