Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lee & Collier Tennis in June

By now I'm sure you know that I'd love to fill you in on every little bit of tennis we have going in the area, but I just can't keep up. Anyway, here's what I've got upcoming and some good things that happened not too long ago.

Lee-Collier Battle This Weekend
If you are familiar with the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge, the tennis feud (actually more like friendly competition) between top players from Naples and Fort Myers that has been running for over three decades, then you have the gist of the Land Sharks Tennis 2nd Annual Battle of Champions. This coming Saturday and Sunday, June 23 & 24, at Miromar Lakes, 21 matches will be played to determine county supremacy.

Unlike the Naples-Fort Myers Challenge, which is competition within age groups, the Battle of Champions is a rated competition. Land Sharks tennis members from Lee and Collier Counties, rated 4.0 through 5.0-plus, will take the court against each other in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. 

Apparently, Collier dominated the competition last year, and I suspect they are planning on doing the same this year. Heck, I hear they even have a former Davis Cupper on their team! I guess he’ll be playing in the 5.0-plus Division. How can lil ole Lee County compete with that? Davis Cuppers or no, we will be out there swinging with all we have this weekend.

Matches begin at 11:00am on Saturday and 9:30am on Sunday. I’m on court at in a 5.0 singles match at 9:30am on Sunday and so is Tyler Owens of Fiddlesticks. Other local favorites playing for Lee County this weekend include:
Lee Co-Captain Frank Fourgeau
Team Captain Frank Fourgeau & Luke Andreae oeague partners) at 10:30am in 10.0 doubles; Larry Gagnon in 9.0 mixed doubles at 12:30pm on Saturday; Joel Hampton & Corey Knapp and Jim Katterfield & Tom Fisher playing 9.0 doubles at 9:30am on Sunday; John Ramsey & Art Nowakaski (Team Captain) Saturday 12:30pm in 8.0 doubles; Sergio Rebolledo & Ryan Sherry Sunday at 9:30am in open doubles; Kathrina Ramsey & Paula Zager on Sunday at 10:30am in 9.0 doubles; Wendy Hechler & Virginia Reed in 8.0 doubles on Sunday at 11am. 

Lee Team Member John Ramsey
According to Orlando Ferrer, Land Sharks leader and event organizer, "Miromar Lakes will offer lunch court side for the players, members, and visitors who want to come out and watch the matches. There is no cover charge. Menu includes Grilled Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Grilled Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken Caesar Wraps, all modestly priced. Drinks and refreshments will also be available. You can also bring your own beverages." If you aren't in church or playing yourself, it should be a fun time. Hope to see you there!

Can’t Miss Opportunity for Juniors
If you have know of a youngster who plays tennis or whom you would like to see play, you definitely want to take a look at this. On Saturday June 30, from 9:00am through 12:30pm, an all-star lineup of USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) tennis professionals and other top tennis coaches will be at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Complex at Three Oaks Park in Fort Myers delivering nuggets of tennis wisdom to junior players and potential players.

The event is the Inaugural USPTA Junior Development Camp, during which twelve USPTA professionals will share their knowledge with up to 72 junior players. Participants will have the benefit of working with different coaches who will focus on the key aspects of their games (groundstrokes, volleys, serves and returns), while emphasizing competitive play and the important fitness component of the game. 

Among the professionals who have already committed are C.J. Weber, Men’s Tennis Coach at Florida Gulf Coast University; Paula Scheb, Director of Tennis at Bonita Bay Club; Alex Hermeto, Director of Tennis at Gateway Country Club; Mike Curran, Director of Tennis at Gulf Harbour; Jeff Timmer, Director of Tennis at Colonial Country Club; Joel Hampton, Three Oaks Park; Mark Davis (Director of Mad Academy, Fort Myers Racquet Club); and Steve Hedrick of Park Meadow Tennis Center. Of course, if needed, I’ll be there as well. 

 According to event organizer, Alex Hermeto, “This is a first for Southwest Florida! All players will be able to meet and work with twelve of the best local USPTA tennis professionals in a training center environment.” All 12 courts at the Barbara Manzo Tennis Complex will be used for this event with at least three of them being used for the 10-and-Under tennis format.

Cost for the one-day event is $45.00, and registration closes June 27. For more information, please call host-professional Joel Hampton at 239-246-6152, or to register for this event contact Alex Hermeto at 239-839-6104 or via email

Mark Owens, Tyler Owens, Tom Fisher, Mike Lawver
Beachview Belmont Classic
The scratching of I’ll Have Another from the Belmont (uh, that’s a horse race), which put the kibosh on a potential Triple-Crown run, was a disappointment, but the participants in the Inaugural Beachview Belmont Golf & Tennis Classic, held Saturday, June 9 at the Beachview Club didn’t let that spoil their fun.

Tyler Owens

Twenty-two players competed in Men’s and Mixed Divisions in tennis and golf. At the conclusion of play awards were presented at the Bistro restaurant. Tyler Owens is having an all around banner year! After going undefeated in the USPTA Pro League, TO (as he is affectionately called) teamed with his Dad, Mark Owens, to beat out Mike Lawver and Tom Fisher to take1st place in the Men’s Division. In the Mixed Division Christie Bradley and Ardie Klement took first, and Tom & Elsie Stahl finished second.  

Local Tennis Stars Honored
I’m guessing that everyone already knows this, but just in case you missed it, earlier this month, the News-Press named Parker Woodall, recent graduate of Cypress Lake High School, and Eddie Neese, Coach of Canterbury Boys’ Tennis, “2012 All-Area Boys Tennis Player of the Year” and “2012 All-Area Coach of the Year” respectively. Parker finished his senior year as a State Champion, and Eddie led Canterbury to its first District Title in his first year as Coach. Kudos to these local stars!

That's all I've got for now folks. Until the next time (hopefully early next week), game, set, match...T. A.

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