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By NANCY MORGAN, Times Sports Correspondent
Published November 14, 2007
For all but two of the 14 members, it is their first trip to a national event. For quite a few, this is the first year of league competition.
"We have the whole range of players on our team," said Pat Bitonti, captain of the Treasure Bay squad. "We have 3.0 rated players, 3.5 and 4.0. Most of the 3.0s are first-year players and have never played in a league before, so all of this is brand new to them."
In local league competition, Treasure Bay was unbeaten among five teams and lost just one individual position of a possible 24. A trip to the state tournament resulted in four more team wins for the state title and a trip to nationals.
Bitonti has developed eight doubles combinations that pair up to a 7.0 total rating: Jim Kennerly teaming with Susan Hobbs or Ann Worthington; Bitonti and Nancy Aukeman or Sally Marshall; Marlene Mokracek and Eric Seppala; Dianne and Roger Pryor; KC Casteel and Bob Coady; Linda Riffe and Luis Ferrey.
"I think our best strength is our enthusiasm, plus our support system from others," Bitonti said.
Friday in Flight I, Treasure Bay faces USTA section Caribbean, then New England. Saturday, Treasure Bay meets Middle States. Flight II includes USTA sections Eastern, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Southern. The top two teams from both flights meet Saturday in semifinal action, followed by the final at 8 a.m. on Sunday.
NET SHOTS: Alexandra Cercone played to the girls 18-and-under final round in this month's Evert American ITF Tournament in Boca Raton.
- In the Pete Wolfberg 16th annual Championships at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center, area top-seed winners include Anastasha Worlds (girls 10), Jasen Norris (boys 10) and Ricky Symanski (bous 14).
- USTA Florida was named Racquet Sports Industry's 2007 USTA section of the year in recognition of its school program's success. There is at least one after-school tennis program in each of the state's 67 counties and increasing monthly.
- Ultimate Tennis League signups have opened for the spring season at www.ultimatetennis.com.
THIS WEEKEND: Royal Racquet Club is hosting a Women on the Way of St. Petersburg College fundraiser at 1-5 p.m. on Saturday. Call 799-3200. ... The 15th annual Frenchy's Gumbo Tennis Classic begins Friday at the McMullen Tennis Complex. Call 669-1919. ... A Husband-Wife Tournament for combined ages 100 to 120 begins today at SPTC. Call 823-2225. ... The YMCA of the Suncoast Bardmoor Branch has a round-robin doubles tournament Saturday at Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club. Call 394-9622.
[Last modified November 13, 2007, 23:27:59]