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Tue, Sept. 17

Happy Valentine doubles; good prep turnout

It was fun seeing all the family members playing together in the Valentine Family Doubles tennis tournament this past Sunday at the Roughrider Tennis Center. Everyone seemed to get along, even in the heat of competition. That isn't easy sometimes with loved ones where you can tend to let your guard down more readily.

Three divisions were held, A-B and C, and lots of hot dogs were downed, sided by a lemon Valentine cake that gave the players a great center of gravity to continue their semi-final and then final matches.

In the A division, Jane and Monti Delozier were defeated in the semi's by Katie and Yuri Howard 6-2, while in the other semi, June and Preston Jantz went down 6-4 to the Pierce's, Steve and Toby 6-4. Steve and Toby beckoned strength from the great hot dogs to down the Howard's 6-3 to win the A finals.

The B division first place prizes of Million Dollar Valentine Bears were taken by Larry and Jenny Cobb, in a lopsided match 6-1, over Tommi and Jerry Quolas (they also got bear prizes). Semi-finalists were Jessica Lund and niece Gretchen Lerch and Gene Herndon and Mike Phillips. (I'm not sure how Mike and Gene are related and don't think I want to know … blood brothers?)

The mother/daughter team of Mojo and JoAnne Farthing had a scare in the semi-finals of the C division, down 3-0 to Ben McMahon and Nick Massimo, before winning that match 6-3 and then going on to win the finals over George and Joyce Thomson 6-1. Lew Johnson and Nannette Oakley were the other semi-finalists.

High school tennis teams have excellent turnout … Prescott High School and Bradshaw Mountain in Prescott Valley have had a large amount of kids trying out for their tennis teams. The boys and girls PHS tryouts have about 21 players each and have to get down to a line-up of approximately 14 players per team.

I don't know how many boys tried out for Bradshaw Mountain's team, but I counted 23 girls out for their tryouts. That's really great, and it shows an interest that just maybe our recreation departments will follow up on with at least summer tennis programs on our public courts.

Chino Valley hasn't started a tennis program at their high school yet, although last year they built four new courts and are rumored to begin tennis teams in the near future.

Jack Cullen, Benjamin Moss and Cody Williams (tennis professionals) have all taken an interest in putting tennis programs together in the tri-city area and I hope they are given help by the schools and recreation departments they have talked with.

Announcements made, flyers handed out, racquets donated, volunteers to help take care of large numbers and good word of mouth are needed to get these new programs off the ground.

It's too bad that anyone has to be cut from a team, but it's difficult with limited facilities and coaching staff members to do anything but that. These other programs would help bring the skill levels up and catch the kids who didn't make the high school teams, but still wish to play the game of tennis and hopefully try out again the next year.

Each high school varsity team keeps six members to play the six singles and three doubles matches against other teams. The junior varsity has the same format, but normally you keep eight to ten members on that roster. You can always bring up junior varsity players to the varsity squad, in case of injury or a difference in a player's progress. If you aren't on one of those rosters at the start of the season, you have to wait until the following year to give it another shot.

To those of you who do make the team, good job, and for those of you who didn't, don't give up. It takes a lot to put your ego and talent out on the line and I give you much credit for doing that alone. Tennis is a great game and one you can play pretty much your whole life so now's the time to keep at it.

Call me at 445-1331 if you still have the desire to learn and play tennis. We'll keep you playing, having fun and getting better and better. Even the Agassi's and Graf's started as beginners; they just put in lots of time and effort, but other than that they're just like the rest of us.

(Chris Howard is a local USTPA tennis professional with over 25 years in the fitness industry.)

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