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Freebies, kids camps rule area scene

Published May 9, 2007


In recognition of USTA's designation of May as National Tennis Month, a free Tennis Block Party is planned Saturday at the McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater.

The Suncoast Tennis Foundation has partnered with the City of Clearwater, local USPTA teaching professionals and Advantage Yours Tennis to provide the Pinellas community a day of tennis activities.

From 10 a.m.-2 p.m., free games and activities are planned for all ages, including Rapid Rally competition and a tennis carnival for youth.s Adults can participate in an informal round robin and receive an NTRP assessment.

A highlight will be vendor courts with representatives from Wilson, Volkl, Yonex, Fischer, Dunlop, Babolat and Prince providing demo racquets for trial use. Information will be available on local programs and leagues for youths and adults.

"Since the Suncoast Tennis Foundation is a community tennis association under the USTA, we want to support however we can to promote tennis, " said Irene Tharin, president of the STF.

Recently STF partnered with the Police Athletic League in its youth tennis program with hopes of assisting in its growth and expansion.

"The Sheriff's Department is committed to reaching out to kids of all ages to help them develop, both physical skills and socially, " said Craig Corry, who joined the Sheriff's Department six years ago after working in the St. Petersburg Police Department more than 25 years. "Part of the way we do this is by using deputies as role models."

Corry's experience in playing and coaching influenced his decision to develop the sport in PAL. The recreational tennis player has played from social to K-Swiss and tournament action and the past 10 years has coached high school tennis.

"In the summer, we've had 50-60 kids in the PAL sports camp, mostly 8- to 14-year-olds, and they're exposed to all the sports, " Corry said. "If they're serious, then we have a volunteer program during the school year to help them continue to develop their tennis skills.

"We touch a lot of kids that cannot otherwise afford country club-type tennis costs. We're competitive for sure, but we especially emphasize social skills."

Paul Hicks, PAL's athletic director, begins the summer sports camps May 29 with two 11-week sessions planned. To register, go to For other local tennis information, visit the STF site at or e-mail

LEAGUE NEWS: The senior women's 4.5 team based at St. Petersburg Tennis Center qualified for the USTA National Senior Doubles League Championships with its state title last weekend. SPTC defeated Naples and Daytona Beach with 3-0 scores and Tallahassee and Jacksonville 2-1. Doubles teams included Andrea Martin and Jackie Keller, Liz Leigh and Lisa Grattan and Leslie Godwin and Sharon Benson.

NET SHOTS: According to Kathleen Fitzgerald, coordinator for Pinellas County Good Life Games, eight singles players, two mixed doubles teams and three men's teams qualified for the 16th State Senior Games Championships in Cape Coral in December.

Among the singles players are Jeanette Harold 65-69, Jay Bortner (60-64), Jim Schroeder (65-69), Ed Klein (70-74), Jack Mayo (70-75), Jack Turk (70-76), Ed Heisler (85-89) and Roger Gentilhomme (95-99).

Qualifiers in mixed doubles action were Dolores Hayman and Ed Klein in 65-69 and Marilyn Spicer and James Lucas in 70-74. In men's doubles were Peter Vandor and Klein in 70-74, Lucas and Louis Pacioni 75-79 and Harry Church and Heisler 85-89.

- Jeff Chambers won two singles titles in last month's Clearwater Spring Break Classic. Second-seeded Chambers won the 40-and-over and 30 divisions. Also collecting singles trophies were Franz Henikl (50), Reinaldo Valor (60), Adrian Pagani (open) and Debbie Hobbs (women's 50).

- Mason Beiler (boys 10-and-under), Dan Stefan (12) and Garrett Betsarakis (16) claimed singles titles in last month's Countryside Spring Junior Super Series. Kimberly Herrock teamed with Alexandria Kitchen to win the girls 14 doubles.

- Evie Sobvzak won the girls 10, Megan Lauser the 12 and Dylan Sieszynski the boys 12 in last weekend's Treasure Island Rookie Tournament.

[Last modified May 8, 2007, 20:31:00]

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