Charity tourney ready to help Humane Society

By NANCY MORGAN, Times Sports Correspondent
Published September 13, 2007

This month's charity tennis tournament offers a win-win situation for the tennis players who participate and the homeless animals that will benefit.

The Humane Society of Pinellas Charity Tennis Tournament, scheduled for Sept. 26-30 at Royal Racquet Club in Clearwater, is in its 14th year and features women's, men's and mixed doubles competition on the court while refreshments, a silent auction and raffle drawings are planned off the court.

"There's always very competitive tennis in all the divisions so even if you're not playing, it's fun to watch," said tournament chair Judy Foster. "Plus, there are some really neat items in both the silent auction and raffle. We have some dynamite warmup outfits, Rockwell mugs and prints, a signed Lightning jersey, fitness packages, at least six top-notch tennis racquets and golf packages worth about $400."

Foster has been the tournament's only chair since its inception in 1993. Since the death of Foster's daughter Shannon Morton in 1996, the event has been played in her memory. Morton was a devoted volunteer at the shelter.

"Judy is a dynamite person and a one of a kind, and this fundraiser is driven by her," said Barbara Snow, executive director of the Humane Society since last September

Suzanne Sakal, development director for the Humane Society, joined Snow in applauding the efforts of Foster and her crew of volunteers.

"We have other fundraisers, but the tennis tournament is our largest event of the year, and continues to grow each year," said Sakal.

Among those assisting Foster are Kiki Jacobsen, Mary Jo Renner, Elizabeth Proctor, Lee Beneke, Jeff Davis, Sara Sardano, Irene Tharin, Ruth Ann Ott, Valerie Schaefer, Kim Loughlin and Marie and Norm Phillips. Donna Coddington is the tournament director.

Kicking off the tournament weekend is a free Junior Fun Night from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 28 for the first 50 youths, ages 4-14, who register by calling 799-3200.

"Since we've become one of the most popular and largest charity events in the area - and I'm very proud of that - we're limiting the players to 250," said Foster. "Last year we made $18,500 for the Humane Society. This year I want to make $20,000 or more."

The annual warmup draw party, catered by Carrabba's Italian Grill for at least the last six years, is 6:30-9 p.m. Sept. 26 at Royal Racquet Club. The party is free to players and $15 for guests.

To register by phone before the 2 p.m. Sept. 22 deadline, call 791-8415.

LEAGUE NEWS: East Lake Woodlands' 6.5 women's team collected the USTA Adult Combo Doubles League title and will join Countryside's 7.5 and Royal Racquet Club's 8.5 women's squads at the state tournament in January.

- Rain-delayed Ultimate Tennis playoff rounds were completed last month in four women's divisions and three men's. Anna Fotopoulos claimed the women's 5.0, Kathy Moll the 4.5-minus, Debra Wood 4.0-minus and Rachel Mayberry 3.5-minus. Collecting men's wins were Kent Wright in 6.0, Clark MacCullough 6.0-minus and Ron Bedlack 5.5.

NET SHOTS: Clearwater's Kevin Manning placed fourth overall in last month's USTA National Men's 50-and-over Grass Court Championships in Philadelphia. Manning was the No. 8 seed in the 128-player draw.

- Shachaamah Brown, 8, and Anastasha Worlds, 9, will compete in next month's Little Mo National Championships in Austin, Texas. Brown and Worlds advanced past local, state and regional competitors to reach the national contest named for the late Maureen Connolly.

- Alexis Franco defended her top seeding to win the girls 10-and-under title in the Daytona Beach Junior Fall Championships. Sister Yasmin Franco collected the girls 14 consolation honor.

- Courtney Grigsby won the girls 14 singles and Aaron Swartz the boys 10 in last weekend's East Lake Woodlands Rookie Tournament. Consolation winners included Ilana Rakita in the girls 10, Evie Sobczak the 12, Mitchell Radford the boys 10 and Stathis Linardos the 16.

- Winners in last weekend's University of Tampa Battle included Becky Bodine in the girls 18, Nicolous Halverson the boys 10 and Dan Stefan the 12. Reaching the final round were Shaunte Southern in the girls 16 and Jacqueline Lazaro the 12. Yasmin Franco claimed the girls 14 consolation title.

- Amy Powell won the women's 3.0, Kirsten Wiilis 3.5 and Craig Hajdich the men's 4.5 singles competition in this month's Clearwater NTRP Championships.

- This month's Seminole Lake Tennis Center's Challenge for juniors named top seeds Amy Lowther in the girls 14 and Aaron Carey in the boys 10 champions. Reaching final action were Jacqueline Lazaro in the girls 12 and Nicholas Litsky the boys 12.

Taylor Kreis claimed the girls 14 consolation, as did Logan Weyand the boys 12.

- In last month's SPTC Junior Super Series, Becky Bodine won the girls 18 title, as did Emily Dvorak the 16. Doubles winners included Alexandra Kitchen and Marie Babayan in the girls 14 and Andrew Roy and Miles Holvoet in the boys 14.

- Mason Beiler reached the boys 10 singles final in the Labor Day Championship Super Series and won the doubles with Stephen Madonia of Lakeland.

COMING UP: USTA Florida State Doubles Championships begin Saturday at the Florida tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Call 386 671-8926. ... The Clearwater Fall Championships are this weekend at the McMullen Tennis Complex. Call 669-1919. ... The Treasure Island Fall Rookie Tournament begins Sept. 22. Call 367-5479.

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.

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