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Volunteers thanked for helping hand with USTA
By NANCY MORGAN, Times Staff Writer
Published December 6, 2007
Among the highlights of last weekend's 58th Annual USTA Florida Section Meeting in Amelia Island was the recognition of volunteers for their efforts and contributions in promoting tennis.
Several local volunteers were among the honored: Irene Tharin, who received the Merit Award, Sam Vuille, inducted into the association's Hall of Fame, Maria Cercone, the organization's junior competitive coach of the year, and Linda Meehan, USTA League coordinator of the year.
Tharin was recognized particularly for her success in promoting and organizing grassroots junior activities, including USTA Schools Tennis, National Junior League and Junior Team Tennis programs.
"I was really honored and proud to receive this award, especially knowing the ones who had preceded me in receiving it," said Tharin, a 26-year Pinellas County public school physical education teacher. "It would never have been possible for me to be as involved as I was and continue to be without my family's support."
The USTA Florida Section honored Tharin and her family as the state's tennis family of the year in 2001.
Tharin's interest in tennis began as a 15-year old in Tarpon Springs, where she played the No. 1 spot for the high school and later competed for St. Petersburg Junior College.
"Being recognized with the Merit Award was an unbelievable experience for me," Tharin said. "For me, what I do is simple in that it's a perfect fit between teaching physical education and being involved with the Florida section; it's everything I love rolled into one."
Vuille's induction included recognition of his achievements in competitive tennis, as well as acknowledgement of his volunteer services; Cercone for her coaching contributions in the junior competitive world; and Meehan for her growth and organization of mixed doubles league play.
At least 350 volunteers attended the three-day meeting of the USTA Florida Section, the fourth-largest section in the USTA with a membership of nearly 50,000. More than 20 area volunteers attended, including Judy Foster, Susie Winship, Ron Massey, Elizabeth Proctor, Dave Foster, David Wisotsky, Carol Levin, Mark Taylor, Clark Higgs and Wendall Walker.
CLUB CHAMPIONS: Eastlake Woodlands named its 2007 club singles and doubles champions last month. Among the women champions were Donna Roberts in 4.5, Jean MacEachern 4.0 and Kelly Wilhite the 3.5. Mark Wagner won the 4.5 men's singles, as did Stan Miller the 4.0 and Stephen Mutschler 3.5.
In doubles, Wilfred Elfers and Ruby Johnson won the women's 4.0, Wilhite and Kirsten Willis 3.5 and Pam Mills and Wendy Sender 3.0. Men's club winners included Charlie Abell and James Curran in 4.0 and Tom Johnson and Terry Midden 3.5.
NET SHOTS: Alexandra Cercone advanced to the girls 16-and-under singles final in the Eddie Herr Junior Tennis Championships staged in Bradenton last week. Cercone received a wild-card entry and won five matches on her way to the final in the prestigious international contest. Nearly 1,800 juniors from all over the world competed in the event.
-Skyler Fanning and Jake Gabay won the boys 10-and-under doubles round robin in last month's Fall Harvest Super Series in Orlando.
-Kara Kucin in the girls 18, top seed Aaron Carey in boys 10 and No. 4 Garrett Betsarakis in the 18 were among the winners in last weekend's Pre Holiday Junior Classic in Clearwater. Playing to a second-place finish was Jasen Norris in the 10.
Consolation winners included Andrea Silva in the girls 10, Chase Seiler boys 12 and Andrew Ryan 14.
- No. 3 seed Becky Bodine reached the girls 16-and-under singles final before losing to the top seed in this month's USTA National Open in Pensacola. Bodine teamed with Tampa's Erin Snook to finish fourth in doubles.
-Angel Deng in the girls 12, Agatha Ambrozy the 14 and Mason Beiler the boys 10 defended their top seedings in this month's East Lake Fall Super Series.
Ambrozy paired with Caroline Berry to win the girls 14 doubles and was joined by Bodine and Snook girls 18 and Iana Nikolaeva and Lidia Kurganova (12), Jacqueline Lazaro and Anisiya Simson (10) and John Sakellarides and Jordan Nickerson (boys 10).
- Top seed Beiler claimed his second consecutive boys 10 singles title in last month's Turkey Bowl Super Series at Seminole Lake Tennis Center. Top seed Amy Lowther won the girls 14 final in straight sets.
Playing to a second-place singles finish were Edward Corty in the boys 16 and Michael Beiler the 14.
In doubles, Michael Kopelman and Andy Hersch beat Aaron Ellison and Justin Fisch in the boys 18 final, as did Ricky Symanski and Eric Fitz-Randolph over Michael Beiler and Peter Jackson in the 14. Lowther and Carolina Barnett were girls 16 finalists.
COMING UP: A Christmas Classic for juniors is Saturday-Monday at the Seminole Lake Tennis Center. Call 394-1733. ... Treasure Bay hosts its Treasure Bay Rookie Tournament this weekend. Call 360-6062.
News for this column may be faxed to Nancy Morgan, 445-4119; e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. Please include phone number.