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Good Life winners qualify for Senior Games

By NANCY MORGAN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 18, 2001


Area players captured gold medals in women's and men's singles and doubles and mixed doubles in the Good Life Games.

Held at the St. Petersburg Tennis Center last month, players at least 50 years old competed in the four-day competition to qualify for this summer's Florida Senior Games. In all, 22 gold medals were earned and 34 others medaled to qualify for the state games.

"There's a lot of good fellowship in the Good Life Games," said Jane Lee Cobb, gold medalist in both mixed and women's doubles. "I've played in the games the last three or four years and went to nationals a year ago."

Cobb and her husband, Gary, represented Florida in the National Senior Games in 1999 and will compete in this summer's 2001 National Senior Games in Baton Rouge, La., representing their home state of Arkansas.

"We reached the round of 16 in the mixed doubles last time, so we played a lot of matches," said Jane Lee Cobb. "Gary competed in softball and tennis last time and will compete in golf and tennis this summer."

The Cobbs won the 60-64 mixed doubles event in St. Petersburg, ahead of Kay Marshall and Ed Klein. Jane Lee Cobb then teamed with Margaret Scheidt to win the women's 60-64 division, outplaying runners-up Nancy Haugen and Ellen Kitzmiller.

Janet Vuille and Alice Belanger were first in the 70-74 division, as were Wendi Whitt and Joan Malone in the 50-54. Malone also won the 75-79 singles, as did Haugen the 60-64 and Nancy Durstein the 70-74.

Rick Whissel (55-59), Dennis McDaniel (65-69), Richard Lambert (70-74), Oscar Steckman (75-79), Bob Serra (80-84) and Walter Jaworski (85-89) were first in men's singles, while John Ekers, Ed Klein, Eugene Shuhayda, Peter Nix, John Will, Richard Durstein, Al Treichel, Gene McClellan, Bob Flesh, Louis DeBee, William Culhane, Bob Flesh, Jack Turk and Ron Whitcomb finished in the top five of their age division to qualify for the state games.

Winning doubles titles were Robert Harding and Barry Carothers (50-54), Richard Checket and David Mitchell (55-59), Nix and Jim Quigley (65-69), Richard Hough and Joe Gari (70-74), John Cronin and DeBee (75-79) and Harry Church and Leo Holland (80-84).

Top-five finishers in men's doubles were John Hall and Arthur Griffith, Donald Bergman and Shuhayda, Klein and Vladymier Szpiczka, Thomas Bentz and Don Miller, Lambert and McClellan, Jim Schroeder and Henry VanDruncn, Peter Nagy and George Stenehjem, Steckman and William Ward and Dane Lonborg and Gordon Madill.

Other local qualifiers to the Florida Senior Games are Kay Marshall (65-69), June Hammond (70-74), Brit Hagtvedt (60-64) in singles and Evie Peterson and Joan Scott (70-74) in doubles.

The Florida Senior Games are Nov. 27 to Dec. 2 at various locations in Polk County. The site for tennis is yet to be determined.

MIXED UP AT STATE: This weekend, local senior mixed doubles champions compete in the USTA Florida Section state championships in Palm Coast. Representing District 12 of the state tennis organization (that includes Pinellas and Pasco counties) are Innisbrook's 6.5 squad, Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club's 7.5 and Safety Harbor Spa's 8.5 teams.

There are eight teams in the 6.5, 12 in 7.5 and four in 8.5 challenging for the state title.

Bardmoor's 7.5 and the Racquet Club's 8.5 adult mixed doubles teams travel to Palm Coast for their championship quest Apr. 27-29.

NATIONAL OPEN: At last week's USTA National Open Championships in Altamonte Springs, Kelly McCain defended her top seeding in the girls 18-and-under with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over the No. 2 seed in the final. No. 5 Jennifer Dent reached the girls 18 quarterfinal round and Natalie Tirapelli advanced to the round of 32.

In the girls 16s, No. 13 seed Erin Heeder reached the quarterfinal round before falling to the No. 11 seed 6-1, 6-4.

Goran Dragicevic was a boys 18 finalist before withdrawing for the Easter Bowl Championships in Palm Springs, Calif. Dragicevic, seeded fifth, upset the No. 2 seed in a quarterfinal match. Brandon Pierpont advanced to the round of 32 in the boys 16.

FUN 'N' SUN: Area players Amanda Becker, Phillip Barlow and Daigo Sukurai won their respective age-division singles titles in last weekend's Fun 'n' Sun Easter Classic at Seminole Lake Tennis Center. Becker upset the No. 1 seed in a semifinal to reach the girls 16s final; Barlow won 6-0, 6-0 in the boys 14s; Sukurai scored a 6-1, 6-1 victory in the boys 18s. John Kenny was runner-up in the boys 16s and Katie Ossenmacher was the girls 10 consolation champion, as was Carl Gavine in the boys 10s.

NET NOTES: Isla Del Sol Country Club's tennis/social open house is from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and every Thursday through May 17. All levels are welcome. Call 906-ISLA for details.

An Adult Tennis League for NTRP playing levels from 2.5 upward is scheduled for Tuesday mornings beginning April 24 and Wednesday evenings beginning April 25. Singles and doubles are planned. Call Sam Vuille at the St. Petersburg Country Club at 867-9105.

A summer session of the South Pinellas Ladies Doubles League will begin next month. Call Vuille at 867-9105 for details on the two-doubles position team Wednesday morning competition.

Visit Web site racquety-yak.com for tips, quips, a public forum and links to related sites.

COMING UP: The Phil Green Tennis Academy at Safety Harbor Spa is hosting its Spring Classic this weekend for adult age-division singles and doubles. Call Green at 724-7729. ... The St. Petersburg Tennis Center hosts the SPTC Juniors Easter Classic this weekend. Singles in 18-and-under, 16, 14, 12 and 10 girls and boys divisions is offered with consolation competition planned for each. Call Al Sarmiento at 360-2643.

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