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Championships complete league's fall season


© St. Petersburg Times, published December 20, 2000

St. Petersburg's 20-year-old city tennis league wrapped up its fall session of men's and women's singles and doubles this month.

Champions were crowned in six women's and nine men's singles divisions, along with two women's and three men's doubles classes.

Janet Matthews claimed the women's A-1 singles title in her first competition in the league since 1993.

"I was looking for exercise and had been off from playing the last six years,"Matthews said. "Playing in this league has gotten me re-ignited to play."

Matthews, who graduated from Lakewood High School in the mid 1970s, didn't lose a set in the four-person double round robin.

Other division winners who didn't lose a set were Staci Katelman in B-4 and Bond Thomas in B-2.

Playoff victories were earned by Cathy Harrelson and Wendy Whitt in doubles, Karen Trzinski in C singles and Lawrence Drinkwine in B-3.

Doug Godinho and Wendall Walker faced tough competition in A-1 doubles but prevailed with a 7-3 record.

"This was my first time to play in the city league, and I really enjoyed it," Godinho said.

"The competition was strong, but Wendall and I play and think similarly, which helps us.

"Also, the fact that we have the ability to adjust our game as the match goes on is probably our best strength," Godinho said.

Other winners in doubles were Deno Shuniak and David Heeder in A-2 and Howard Hawkins and John Powell in the B division.

Leslie Knowles had heard great comments about the league so the Lakewood High School science teacher entered for the first time and finished at the top of the B-1 singles division.

"I had been organizing some activities for the staff at school and tennis was one of them," Knowles said.

"I've never had any lessons, but I found the more I played the more I liked it. The city league was good. Actually, I felt like I was pretty lucky."

Rounding out the singles winners are Lorraine Petroski (B-2), Janet Towns (B-3), Louis Ramirez (B-1), Brett Gee (A-3), Erich Haupt (A-2) and Matt Casey (A-1).

SENIOR GAMES: Ed Hamilton, in the singles division for 60-64-year-olds, joins two local men's doubles teams, a women's doubles and a mixed doubles squad as qualifiers for the National Senior Games.

Hamilton secured a berth in last month's Florida Senior Games in Kissimmee. In all, 1,500 athletes competed in 19 sports.

After capturing the singles victory, Hamilton teamed with Dave Krebs to win the 60-64 doubles championship.

Robert Allen and Andy Chau were first in 75-79 doubles. Phyllis Gary and Joan Holland were winners in the 65-69 women's division. In mixed doubles, Carol Levin and Rick Whissell earned the 55-59 crown.

The National Senior Games are scheduled for July 14-28 in Baton Rouge, La.

Placing second in the Florida Senior Games were Joan Scott and Evie Moore (70-74), June Hammond and Caryle Red (65-69) and Raymond Albert and John Cronin (75-79).

CUP CHAMPIONS: Ashley Harkelroad of Wesley Chapel was a member of the U.S. winning girls team in the 11th Connolly Continental Cup in Key Biscayne.

In the team final against Estonia, Harkleroad won her singles match and joined Bethanie Mattek to win the deciding doubles bout. It was the first U.S. win since 1984.

The U.S. boys squad won its competition in the Sunshine Cup for the first since 1995. The U.S. played Spain in the final and won 2-1. Both events were International Tennis Federation competitions.

ACROSS BAY CHALLENGE: The Racquet Club played host to the sixth annual Across the Bay Challenge last weekend for Pinellas and Hillsborough county juniors.

Eight-game pro-set singles and doubles matches were played in a format with total team points determining the winner. Hillsborough pulled out a five-point victory.

Representing Pinellas were Kelly Nelson, Natalie Tirapelli, Jennifer Dent, Evangelina Soriano, Bugsy Bauer, Alexandra Cercone, Morgan Basil and Lindsay Dvorak for the girls and Marc Sawyer, Ben Olsen, Christian Yepes, Greg Bulleit, George Navas, Brad Ossenmacher and Jeff Diamo for the boys.

THIS WEEKEND: The Sullivan Homecoming Invitational is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Petersburg Tennis Center.

The doubles round-robin format includes students of teaching pro Dan Sullivan.

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