For Email Marketing you can trust

 Join SAZ on  facebook
Join SAZ on twitter_logo_header

P.O. BOX 64477
TUCSON, AZ.  85728

» News

Special Olympians Compete in Arizona Games - Featuring: Scorpions of Tucson!

May 20, 2009 10:03 PM
Special Olympians Compete in Arizona Games
5/4/09 4:53 PM

35th Annual Special Olympics Arizona
Mesa Community College - Mesa, Ariz.
May 2, 2009

Brenda Vas hits a backhand during the Skills/Drills competition at the Special Olympics Arizona Tennis Event.

Almost 75 Arizona athletes competed recently at a Special Olympics Arizona Summer Games tennis event held at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, May 2. Competitors from across the state, including teams from Casa Grande, Tucson, Yuma, Lake Havasu, Florence, Mesa and Flagstaff all took part in the event, which USTA Southwest helped out with.

Athletes competed in various skills drills in the morning, then moved on to tournament play in singles and unified doubles draws as the day wore on. A competitive
QuickStart Tennis draw was also included in the 2009 Summer Games, a first for the competition.

Local Mesa Community College and Paradise Valley Community College tennis team members, a corps of Special Olympics volunteers, and five USTA Southwest staff members (Jessica Adams, Darlene Demory, Bill Lucero, Michelle Moyer and Jeff Sikes) helped feed and shag balls for participants, which ranged in ages from teenage children to older adults. A terrific time was had by all the competitors and volunteers.

Jose Ramirez of the Flagstaff Hawks team tosses up this serve during the QuickStart Singles event.
"I had a great day, and it was so much fun playing," said competitor Alisha Herbert, of Mesa, who participated in the singles draw. "I played last year and will compete every year."

A $500 USTA Southwest grant was given to Special Olympics Arizona for equipment and to help stage the event, which is Arizona's largest competitive event for adaptive tennis. Tennis is one of 22 sports that Special Olympics Arizona puts on each year.

"This year’s Summer Games Tennis event was spectacular," said Tennis Games Management Director, Stephanie LaCroix. "We were excited to add the Quickstart Tennis program to the schedule, and it proved to be a huge success. There was a real buzz around the courts this year, and the athletes and coaches loved the new venue (in Mesa).”

The first Special Olympics Arizona competition was held in 1975 and consisted of a one-day track and field event with 100 athletes and 20 volunteers. Today, Special Olympics Arizona offers a complete range of sports, 170 programs in 15 regional areas, and five statewide competitions for 9,100 athletes and, 1,300 Class A volunteers and 5,000 day-of-event volunteers on an annual basis.

For more information on Special Olympics or to volunteer, please visit or call 1-800-289-I WIN (4946).


The Mighty El Conquistador Scorpions - Tucson

Once a week for the past decade, a group of 20 players has shown up to practice tennis at the El Conquistador Country Club. Named for Jennifer Fuchs, founder of this 501C(3) tennis organization, "Jen's Kids" (now young adults) has existed to serve the special needs population of Tucson. " We really need to change the name" said Fuchs, "they aren't kids anymore." She went on to describe the program as a "place where players come to have fun, learn the game of tennis and feel a sense of belonging. Many of the players have played together for years so there is a strong feeling of camaraderie among the group and healthy competition. These players really care about one another and when someone is not there, it is noted."

Jennifer Fuchs is supported by several regular volunteers and families. Some of the volunteers are students from the El Conquistador Tennis Academy that need to complete community service hours or help simply because it feels good. Volunteers Cindy McAlbin, Joan Semborski and Keeley Hutchinson also facilitate the clinic. In March the "Scorpions" participated in the Special Olympics Pima County Area Tennis Competitiion held at the Tucson Racquet Club. For more information about Special Olympics Programs in Pima County, contact Holly Thompson, Competition and Outreach Manager Pima County at If you would like to know more about the special needs tennis program at the El Conquistador contact Jennifer Fuchs 520.544.1780 or