Column: Tennis awards honor enthusiasts
Originally Published: October 30, 2008 8:09 p.m.
The Northern Arizona Tennis Association under the direction of President Jana Perpich and organized by Toni Sadova and Eric Bourdon welcomed approximately 50 local tennis enthusiasts to their annual awards dinner this past Friday at the Prescott Racquet Club.Special guests included USTA Southwest Section Executive Director Julie Pec and staff members Darlene Demory and Bill Lucero.It was a fun filled evening starting with a half hour of mingling and appetizers, a scrumptious sit-down dinner catered by local pro and PRC café manager Gary Amadio, followed by the awards presentation.The first award presented - noted as a "Special Award" - was to a woman who has been helping promote tennis locally in the Prescott area since the mid 1980s, Bette Nisi. Her contribution to tennis has ranged from being captain of many USTA league teams (a couple that did very well in national competition) to currently volunteering her time helping to run many of the tournaments that are held at the PRC.The Girls Competitive Player of the Year went to Sedona high school player Cassandra Kovac, who is not only an accomplished tennis player but also a very good pianist. She loves the game of tennis, has plans for a college career and mentioned that the things she has achieved couldn't have been done without the help of her parents and grandparents, her core support group.This was the third time Alex Lineberry won the Junior Boys Competitive Player of the Year award. Alex has recently moved up to the boys 18 and under division after holding a high ranking in the 16's in the Southwest Section. This past year, he got to play in the most prestigious junior tournament in the United States at Kalamazoo, the first Northern Arizonan ever.Alex is the son of USPTA Master Professional Larry Lineberry who is a partner at the beautiful Sedona Racquet Club. Alex thanked everyone who has supported him over the years, especially his mother and father.Another local USPTA Tennis Professional, Sterling Fetty was given the "High School Coach of the Year" honors. Sterling has coached the PHS boys team the past two years with great success. Sterling mentioned that as hard as it is to be a pro at the club and also coach the boys team, it's certainly one of the most rewarding things he gets to do.Steve Waples, owner of the Prescott Racquet Club, was awarded "Outstanding Member Facility of the Year." The club opened its doors in 1985 and has been a staple of activity that continues with countless programs and activities for youth, adults and seniors.The "Family of the Year" award went to Russ and Gail Wagner for their continued involvement as USTA team captains. They were also previous board members on the Prescott Area Tennis Association as it started up in the early 1990s for many years."Volunteer of the Year" went to NATA board member Donna Roberts who hails from the Sedona area. Donna is just a dynamo in grant writing, captaining teams she doesn't even play on, and junior programs.Local tennis player Ray Eccleson received the award for "League Tennis Captain of the Year." Ray has been doing this kind of stuff since tennis was invented in 1874 ... or so it seems. If you want to know anything about league play, talk with Ray.The last award the "Outstanding National Junior Tennis League" went to a Flagstaff Program known as FACTS; which is an after-schools tennis/multi-program that encompasses hundreds of kids.This concluded the end of a wonderful night patting the backs of some very special people.(Chris Howard is a local USPTA Tennis Professional with over 30 years in the racquet and fitness industry. He can be reached at 445-1331 or email@example.com)