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    Mixed doubles champs take shot at state title

    By NANCY MORGAN

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001


    This weekend, local senior mixed doubles champions will compete in the USTA Florida Section state championships in Palm Coast.

    Representing District 12 of the state organization (including Pinellas and Pasco counties) are Westin Innisbrook Resort's 6.5 team, Bardmoor Golf and Tennis Club's 7.5 and Safety Harbor Spa's 8.5 squads. Eight teams are entered in 6.5, 12 in 7.5 and four in 8.5.

    "We're geared up and ready to go," said Maureen Sternberg, Innisbrook's captain. "We're a dynamite team and plan to go over to Palm Coast and win. This is our first time to go to state in mixed doubles, and we're all excited about it."

    Playing for Innisbrook are Anne and Robert Hammond, Maureen and Ron Sternberg, Sue and Wes Luidens, Carolyn and Bill Speckman, Josie Doucette and Bill Graham.

    Each club team consists of three mixed doubles positions per match.

    Innisbrook first meets a squad from Citrus Hills in Hernando County on Friday, followed by a matches with Quail Creek from Naples on Saturday and North River Shores of Stuart on Sunday.

    The squad with the best record in the four-team round robin advances to the championship match Sunday afternoon with the top club among a second four-team round robin of 6.5 squads.

    Bardmoor enters round robin competition Friday with two matches -- the first against a Gainesville team, followed by Merritt Island. Saturday, Bardmoor plays Bonita Springs.

    "Our team has been to senior mixed tournaments before," said Pat Bellcourt, who shares the captain role with her husband, Frank. "Our team actually started as something for couples to do together for fun.

    "We've found the teams at state take this all very seriously, even to the point of bringing a coach along," Pat said. "We all play in a lot of leagues but don't get much time for special mixed doubles clinics."

    Joining the Bellcourts will be Mickie and John Gelestor, Sue and Mark Michelman, Sylvia and Bob Hagerman, Erika Boardman, Bob Simister and Jim Foster.

    In the 7.5 division, the top team in each of three flights plus the squad with the next best overall record enters semifinal action Sunday morning, followed by the final in the afternoon.

    "The competition at state is definitely tough," Pat Bellcourt said. "We have found the teams that are most successful at our level have men rated at 4.0 and the women 3.5. We'll play hard and enjoy ourselves as well."

    Carol Levin, captain of Safety Harbor, thinks her team is the best in the three years she's gone to state.

    "Every year, the competition gets tougher in mixed doubles," Levin said. "Our teams are all pretty equal, which makes us as good as we are."

    Levin teams with Rick Whissel, Trish Mainard with John Bruynell, Morena DeLosh with Bob Newhouse and Joan Christensen with her husband, Bill.

    With just four teams in the 8.5 division, the squad with the best record in the round-robin competition will be declared the champion.

    SATELLITE CHAMPIONS: Feather Sound Country Club won its first Ladies Doubles League title when it edged defending champion Westin Innisbrook Resort by three points.

    Feather Sound earned 262 points in 20 matches among 11 teams. Tied for third place were the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg and East Lake Woodlands. Countryside Strings finished fourth, and Countryside Racquets took fifth. EASTER BOWL: Competing in this week's USTA Super National Spring Championship in Palm Springs, Calif., are Alexandria Liles and Kelly Nelson (girls 18-and-under); Bugsy Bauer (16); Goran Dragicevic (18); Sukhwa Young (16); and Timothy Neilly, Marc Spicijaric, George Navas and Evan Dufaux (14). Young is the No. 1 seed. Neilly is No. 5 and Liles 11th.

    NATIONAL OPEN: Kelly McCain defended her top seed with a 6-0, 6-2 victory in the girls 18 final of the recent USTA tournament in Altamonte Springs.

    Dragicevic was runner-up in boys 18, fifth-seeded Jennifer Dent reached the girls 18 quarterfinal round, as did No. 13 Erin Heeder in the 16 division. Natalie Tirapelli, Carl Fenzl, Haley Dodson and Brandon Pierpont advanced to the round of 32 in their respective divisions.

    FUN N' SUN EASTER CLASSIC: Local winners in last weekend's tournament at Seminole Lake Tennis Center were Amanda Becker (16 division), Daigo Sukurai (18) and Phillip Barlow (14). John Kenny (16) was a finalist. The state-sanctioned singles competition included consolation rounds. The winners were Katie Ossenbacher (girls 10), Chris Bulone (16) and Carl Gavine (boys 10).

    GOOD LIFE GAMES: Medalists in last month's Games at St. Petersburg Tennis Center include Nancy Haugen, Joan Malone, June Hammond and Nancy Durstein, in women's singles, and Rick Whissel, John Ekers, Ed Klein, Eugene Shuhayda, Ron Whitcomb, Bob Flesh, Dennis McDaniel, Peter Nix, Richard Lambert, John Will, Richard Durstein, Gene McClellan, Oscar Steckman, Jack Turk, William Culhane, Louis DeBee, Bob Serra and Walter Jaworski. Gold medalists in women's doubles were Wendi Whitt and Malone (50-54), Jane Lee Cobb and Margaret Scheidt (60-64) and Janet Vuille and Alice Belanger (70-74). On the men's side were Robert Harding and Harry 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). Malone scored a third gold medal in mixed doubles with Holland (80-84), Cobb a second gold with her husband, Gary, (60-64) and Whissel a second with Carol Levin (55-59). Joan and Bill Scott were first in 70-74. Good Life medalists qualify for the Florida Senior Games, scheduled for November in the Polk County area. NET NOTES: Third-seeded boys 16 player Adel Nasser rebounded from a first-set loss to win the singles final in the FAJ Super Series in Lutz. He teamed with Tampa's Nick Bass for the 18 doubles title. Megan Frank and Anastasiya Sokolova won the girls 18 doubles. ... April marks the 13th anniversary of the Carol and Tim Szazynski family ownership of Royal Racquet Club. ... The Phil Green Tennis Academy, housed at Safety Harbor Spa, will play host to the Fila Camp, April 22-28, for any tennis enthusiast. Call 726-1161. ... Suncoast Tennis Singles meets Sunday at the Racquet Club of St. Petersburg. Call Rollo, 527-0777. COMING UP: A Junior Tennis Fun Night is scheduled for Friday at Royal Racquet Club from 6-8:30 p.m. Call 799-3200. ... The SPTC Juniors Easter Classic is this weekend at St. Petersburg Tennis Center. Call Al Sarmiento, 360-2643, or the center, 893-7301. ... This weekend's Spring Classic is being hosted by the Phil Green Tennis Academy at Safety Harbor Spa. Adult age-division singles and doubles are scheduled. Call 724-7729. ... The Royal Adult Classic is May 5-7 at Royal Racquet Club. Call Donna Weiss, 791-8415.

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