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Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Hawaii capture Mixed National Titles

November 13, 2011 08:52 AM
The Mid-Atlantic 9.0 Mixed Doubles Champions. (Washington, D.C.), L to R: (FRONT ROW: Caryn Winkler, Valerie Simpkins, Ljudmila Pavlov, Tony Acosta (captain), Roseann Gomez, BACK ROW: Paul Smith, Kelley Regan, Laura Smith, Vinnie Khera, Artur Kalil, NOT PICTURED :John Mook)
The Southern 2.5 Mixed Doubles champions. (Covington, La.), L to R: (STANDING: Wayne Weidenbacher (captain), Kenneth Aswad, Kaki Wells, Ryan Fischer, Elizabeth Boyce, Frances Williams, Lance Williams, SEATED: Blake Williams, Madeline Williams)
The Hawaii 7.0 Mixed Doubles Champions. L to R: (FRONT ROW: Michelle Fitzgerald (captain), Nikki Matsumura, Rosemary Smythe, Adrian Alvarez, BACK ROW: Michael Fitzgerald, Shawn Morimoto, Madison Duarte, NOT PICTURED: Michael Henthorn, Susan Ham-Young, Ron Olen)
By Matt Birch, special to USTA.com
TUCSON, Ariz. - The USTA Mid-Atlantic Section 9.0 team, the USTA Hawaii 7.0 team and the USTA Southern Section 2.5 team were crowned champions at the 2011 USTA Mixed Doubles National Championships, held Nov. 11-12, at the Jim Reffkin Tennis Center.
The semifinals and finals rounds of the tournament were moved up to Saturday night, due to the threat of rain expected for Sunday afternoon. As a result, some of the teams competed in four matches over the course of the day on Saturday.
The 7.0 finals matchup between the Caribbean and Hawaii sections briefly got underway Saturday night, but was halted by rain.
The Hawaii team, which hails from the island of Kauai, defeated the Caribbean section representatives, from Bayamon, Puerto Rico in the finals. It is the first USTA National Championship for a team from the island of Kauai.
The championship match originally got underway briefly on Saturday night, but was halted by rain. The teams returned to the courts early Sunday morning to resume the contest; however the rains returned and stopped play once again. The Tucson skies finally cleared up on Sunday afternoon, and the championship contests were completed.
The Hawaii team is captained by Michelle Fitzgerald, and features Michael Fitzgerald, Michael Henthorn, Nikki Matsumura, Rosemary Smythe, Madison Duarte, Adrian Alvarez, Shawn Morimoto, Susan Ham-Young, and Ron Olen and plays at the Hanalei Bay Resort.
Michelle and Michael Fitzgerald commented on what this championship means to them, the island of Kauai, and the importance of completing the match.
"It was good for us to come together in the true spirit of the sport, and not have it called by weather," Michael said. "Everybody wanted to play it out and it was a true win."
The Eastern Section and Pacific Northwest Section 7.0 teams were named the co-third place finishers as a result of their consolation match being stopped by the weather.
The 9.0 Mid-Atlantic team from Washington, D.C. defeated the Pacific Northwest representative from Seattle in the championship match, by a score of 3-0. Earlier in the day, Mid-Atlantic defeated a team from the Texas Section in the semifinal round.
The Washington, D.C. team is captained by Tony Acosta, and features Vinnie Khera, Laura Smith, Ljudmila Pavlov, Kelley Regan, Roseann Gomez, Artur Kalil, Caryn Winkler, Valerie Simpkins, John Mook and Paul Smith and plays at the East Potomac Tennis Center at Hains Point.
The 2.5 Southern team from Covington, La. went undefeated through pool play to capture the National Championship. They defeated the Northern California team to clinch the title, in a battle of the final two unbeaten squads.
The Southern team is captained by Wayne Weidenbacher and features Elizabeth Boyce, Ryan Fischer, Kaki Wells, Lance Williams, Frances Williams, Kenneth Aswad, and plays at the Stone Creek Club and Spa.
Third place for the 9.0 teams went to the Southwest Section, which defeated a team from the Texas Section in the consolation match.
The Florida Section finished in third place at the 2.5 level, with the Mid-Atlantic representative finishing fourth.
This year’s USTA League Mixed Doubles National Championship has drawn the top 39 teams (16 9.0 teams, 17 7.0 teams and 6 2.5 teams) from throughout the nation.
USTA League is celebrating its 31st anniversary this year. Established in 1980, it has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year, to over 779,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis program.



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