Teams representing 14 states opened up the WTT Community Tennis season by capturing nine division titles at the first WTT National Qualifier of the year at the Wild Dunes Resort in Charleston, S.C., over the weekend.
The National Qualifier is the first of seven events that will determine which WTT league teams advance to the 2018 WTT Nationals, November 2-4, in Palm Desert, Calif. Four teams from the Charleston event will be first-timers at the Nationals while the other five championship teams are making a return visit to the desert.
Here‘s a breakdown of the action in each division:
3.0 DIVISION: Esterly, led by captain Jim Esterly of Ballston Lake, N.Y., made the most of their weekend by earning their first trip to Nationals. Esterly defeated Rackliffe of Glenville, N.Y., in two matches, 32-21 and 36-15. Team members included Dale Van Buren, Latham, N.Y.; Daniel Green, Albany, N.Y.; Jared Danaher, East Greenbush, N.Y.; Joan DeVito, Troy, N.Y.; Laurie Engle, Ballston Spa, N.Y.; Phil Danaher, East Greenbush, N.Y.; Tammy Vasquez, Schuylerville, N.Y.; and Jim Esterly, Ballston Lake, N.Y.
3.5 DIVISION: Tri-City Aces of Delanson, N.Y., won the 3.5 Division title with a 34-21 victory over Sweep the Leg of Cary, N.C., in the Championship Match. Both Tri-City Aces and Sweep the Leg were undefeated in round robin action to advance to the semifinals. The Aces were too strong for Arnold of Gansevoort, N.Y., with a 34-20 semifinal win. The second semifinal was a nail-biter as Sweep the Leg narrowly edged Mean Green Tennis Machine of Virginia Beach, Va., 27-26. The Aces‘ victory in the Finals punched their ticket to their first Nationals event. Led by captain George Schlottner of Delanson, N.Y., the Aces lineup included Enkeleda Cuko, Guilderland, N.Y.; Guy Barletta, Clifton Park, N.Y.; Jamie Anilowski, Ballston Spa, N.Y.; Justin Hoffman, Schenectady, N.Y.; Susan Dautel, Clifton Park, N.Y.; and Wendi Enright, Schenectady, N.Y.
4.0 DIVISION: The championship match for the 4.0 Division crown featured two undefeated squads, Sorry I‘m Not Sorry of Overland Park, Kan., and #Poundtown of Apex, N.C. #Poundtown rolled through round robin action with four wins while Sorry I‘m Not Sorry posted three victories. The Kansas team got their fourth win of the weekend in the Finals, outlasting #Poundtown 33-24 to win their first WTT National Qualifier event. Representing Sorry I‘m Not Sorry were captain Marcia Jacelone of Overland Park, Kan.; Brian Burton, Kansas City, Mo.; Brandon Cusick, Kansas City, Mo.; Kaitlin Bolton, Kansas City, Mo.; Marcia Jacelone, Overland Park, Kan.; Thomas Ohnemus, Harrisonville, Mo.; and Valeria Laguna, Winchester, Va.
4.5 DIVISION: As one of only three California teams in the National Qualifier, Drop Shot Like It‘s Hot of Garden Grove, Calif., made the most of their trip by winning the 4.5 Division. Drop Shot Like It’s Hot defeated Magic Show of Kansas City, Mo., to capture the title and earn their first trip to Nationals. Drop Shot Like It‘s Hot was 1-1 in round robin action but advanced to the championship match with a 33-26 victory over Greenville SC of Greer, S.C., in the semifinals. Team members include: Sophie Lam (non-playing captain) of Garden Grove, Calif.; John Mano, Seal Beach, Calif.; Jon Mak, Torrance, Calif.; Lena Loha, Westminster, Calif.; Linda Matsumoto, La Puente, Calif.; Met Chau, Anaheim, Calif.; Richard Chen, Anaheim, Calif.; Tina Mortensen, Corona, Calif.; Irving Lai, Brea, Calif.; Tricia Guinto, Walnut, Calif.; and Viviana Kim, Brea, Calif.
SENIOR 3.5 DIVISION: The NJ Net Jockeys of Florham Park, N.J., will make a return trip to Nationals after capturing the Senior 3.5 Division with a 3-0 round robin record. The Net Jockeys outscored opponents 99-54 over three matches to lock up three wins and the overall title. Team members include: Fenghai Xu, Ridgewood, N.J.; Cindy Wang, Livingston, N.J.; Janet Himstead, Randolph, N.J.; Ling Zhang (captain), Florham Park, N.J.; Ralph Nadal, Glen Rock, N.J.; Sherry Song, Montville, N.J.; and Wanda Pennes Nadal, Glen Rock, N.J.
SENIOR 4.0 DIVISION: Evergreen of Long Valley, N.J. (pictured above), captured the Senior 4.0 Division title with a 32-28 victory over Fire and Ice of San Diego, Calif., in the championship match. Evergreen posted a 3-0 round robin record to advance to the semifinals where they defeated Rocks with Salt of Selkirk, N.Y., 31-22. Captain Wen-yin Lin of Long Valley, N.J., led the way along with team members Karen Sitton, Cedar Knollls, N.J.; Yoko Kokabu, Wyckoff, N.J.; Andre Yang, Livingston, N.J.; Greg Himstead, Randolph, N.J.; Sally Woolston, Long Valley, N.J.; Seon Kim, Livingston, N.J.; and Sherry Shan, Montville, N.J.
SENIOR 4.5 DIVISION: On the senior side of the 4.5 Division, Cinnamon Fire of San Diego, Calif., will advance to the Finals. The squad is captained by Albert Alagata, and includes John Flowers, Debbie Fitzgerald, Lisa Crisafulli, Raj Tallure, Albert Alagata, and Beatriz Vega, all of San Diego, Calif.
SUPER SENIOR DIVISIONS (3.5 & 4.0): Two teams emerged from the Super Senior Division competition with NQ titles. The Lobsters of Livingston, N.J., won the Super Senior 3.5 Division with a 2-1 round robin record. Captain Ronald Tai of Livingston, N.J., will return to the Nationals this fall with team members Linda Fiumefreddo, Scotch Plains, N.J.; Lisa Zhang, Livingston, N.J.; and William Hanft, Livingston, N.J.
A perennial contender, the Amarillo Racketeers of Amarillo, Texas, won all three of their round robin matches to advance to the National Finals as the Super Senior 4.0 Division representative.
Dave Wohlfarth, the non-playing captain from Amarillo, guided his team to their undefeated record which included wins over teams from the Senior 4.0 Division. Racketeers team members are Mike Milner, Borger, Texas; Marilee Cooper, Borger, Texas; Ann Palmer, Helen Hudson, James Hamous, John Michie, Mark Izzard, Mary Wingate, and Ron Whittington, all of Amarillo, Texas
Next up on the WTT National Qualifier calendar is a Senior Divisions only competition at the Owl Creek Tennis Center in Virginia Beach, Va., on April 13-15.The full calendar for the remaining National Qualifier events is:
4/13-15/2018 – Owl Creek Tennis Center – Virginia Beach, Va. (Senior Divisions only)
5/113/2018 – Darling Tennis Center – Las Vegas, Nev.
7/6-8/2018 – Plaza Tennis Center – Kansas City, Mo.
8/10-12/2018 – Hempfield Sports Complex – Landisville, Pa.
8/17-19/2018 – Virginia Beach Tennis & Country Club – Virginia Beach, Va.
9/14-16/2018 – Heritage Park – Irvine, CA
2018 WTT NATIONALS: November 2 – 4 in Palm Desert, CA