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Seniors Serve It Up In El Paso

May 20, 2009 08:46 PM

USTA Southwest Senior League Championships
El Paso, Texas
May 15-17, 2009

Women: 3.0 | 3.5 | 4.0 | 4.5 
Men: 3.0 | 3.5 | 4.0 | 4.5

Team and action photos will be available soon
Check back LATER!

3.5 GEPTA Men's captain Bill Tepsick gets a celebratory ice bath after his team captured the Southwest Senior Section Championships.

Thirty-one league teams comprising just over 325 players competed recently in El Paso, Texas for the USTA Southwest Senior League Section Championships, May 15-17, 2009.

The big winner at the Southwest Senior Championships was Southern Arizona (SAZ). The district captured five of the eight Section championship NTRP level team titles over the weekend, three in the women (3.0, 3.5 and 4.5) and two men's (3.0 and 4.0).

Greater El Paso Tennis Association (GEPTA) claimed two championship crowns in Women's 4.0 and Men's 3.5, while Northern New Mexico claimed the lone remaining title, the Men's 4.5.

Teams from Southern New Mexico (Las Cruces-area) and Central Arizona (Phoenix-area) also had teams in several of the NTRP level championships, but did not manage to secure a title.

In Women's 3.0, Tucson's Saddlebrook team captained by Geri Sandilands won the division with a 3-0 team record, losing just one individual match of nine over the weekend.

In Women's 3.5, another team from SAZ prevailed. Playing out of the Himmel Tennis Center, the team was captained by Carol Bandy and put on the most impressive performance of any team competing in El Paso, winning all five team matches by a perfect 3-0 score for a spotless victory.  

Women's 4.0 was the most competitive of the eight divisions held, with four of the six teams finishing with a 3-2 record or better on the weekend. GEPTA's Tennis Club team emerged as champion with a 4-1 record, advancing on number of courts won over second-place Northern Arizona (NAZ Flagstaff) 11-8, despite actually losing their matchup with NAZ 2-1.  

Women's 4.5 was a two-team race between Southern Arizona and GEPTA, with Southern Arizona's team, captained by Leslie Keys, winning all three matches between the teams over the weekend.

Tucson's Nancy Hosford, 4.5 player smacks this forehand during a match in El Paso. Her team captured the 4.5 division and will advance to Nationals.

In Men's 3.0, SaddleBrooke's men, captained by Joe Schullik, easily outdistanced second place Northern New Mexico, going a flawless 3-0 for the weekend.  

GEPTA's team captained by Bill Tepsick claimed the Men's 3.5 division, outpacing second place Northern New Mexico by two court wins (both teams finished with identical 4-1 team records).

In Men's 4.0, Tucson's Randolph Tennis Center team was an unblemished 5-0 in their flight. The Randolph men - captained by Fred Wegner - rolled over all comers, winning 12 of their 15 individual matches, easily ahead of GEPTA's Tennis Club team, which finished second with a 3-2 team record.

4.0 Northern New Mexico captain Richard Salmon steadies himself for a volley at the Senior Section Championships.
The Men's 4.5 division was won by Northern New Mexico (Albuquerque Tanoan Country Club), with a 3-1 record. Captained by Matthew Barker, the Albuquerque team finshed just ahead of the Central Arizona team from Carefree (Ariz.) captained by Steve Murkowicz and the team from Gold Key Racquet Club, captained by Ray Price. Every single team match played in the 4.5 division was decided by a 2-1 team score, meaning the competition was very tight.

The Senior Championships event was held over three days at the El Paso Tennis and Swim Club and Tennis West Sports and Racquet Club. Men's and women's flip-flopped sites on Friday and Saturday, before returning to their original starting site on Sunday (with the exception of the Men's 4.5, which stayed at the Tennis Club all weekend). 

Head/Penn Racquet Sports provided the tournament balls. A tournament Player Party was held Saturday night, May 16 at the host hotel - Camino Real, located in downtown El Paso. The player party was held in the hotel's courtyard area and was very well-attended, with players enjoying a light dinner, dancing, and a photo slideshow or participants while they dined and mingled with other league players. USTA Southwest raffled off prizes for attendees and a local band Bad Habits, performed for the players.

Local volunteers from GEPTA helped out with the event, as did GEPTA league coordinator Jerry Pippins and Northern New Mexico league coordinator Tony Stephens, who both served as site directors.

A special thanks goes out to all those teams who ventured to El Paso. This year's Senior Championships was one of the Section's largest to date.

Division winners from the Senior Championships in El Paso will now automatically qualify for USTA League National Championship events to be held later this year (see 2009 national championship schedule). Good luck to all of our Section Championship teams, and do us proud at Nationals!
The next 2009 championships event will be the USTA Southwest Adult League Championships, held  in Albuquerque, July 31-August 2.