Georgia Wins Men’s 7.0 National Championship
COTA MEN’S TENNIS TEAM CROWNED NATIONAL CHAMPIONS AT
USTA LEAGUE ADULT 65 & OVER 7.0 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS TOURNAMENT
SURPRIZE, AZ, JANUARY 21, 2018 - Representing the Clarke-Oconee Tennis Association (COTA), Georgia, and the Southern Region, the players above captured the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Championship held at the Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex in Surprise, Arizona, January 19-21, 2018. The COTA team beat Hawaii in the finals on Sunday after defeating the Cape Cod team representing the New England Region in the semi-finals earlier that morning.
There were seventeen teams representing each of the regions of the USTA in attendance. Teams were divided into four groups for a round-robin competition to determine the four teams that would vie for the championship on Sunday. The COTA team went 4-0 in round robin competition, beating representatives of the Mid-States Region (New Jersey), Southern California Region (Indian Wells), Mid-Atlantic Region (Virginia), and Caribbean Region (Puerto Rico) to advance to the semi-finals.
The team earned the right to represent the Southern Sectional by first winning the Georgia State Championship held in Savannah June 9-11, 2017. They then won the 9 state Southern Sectionals held at Hilton Head Island December 1-3, 2017 to advance to the National Invitational Championship.
Established in 1980, the USTA League has grown from 13,000 participants in a few parts of the country in its first year, to over 915,000 players across the nation today, making it the world’s largest recreational tennis league.
The USTA League was established to provide adult recreational players throughout the country with the opportunity to compete against players of similar ability levels. Players participate on teams in a league format, which is administered by the USTA through its 17 sections. Tennis players at all levels are invited to participate in USTA League Tennis and can contact their local tennis association for more information.
The First National Championship for the State of Georgia in 2018.
There have been many national champions at UGA, most recently the Women’s Swimming and Diving team in 2016. The football team almost brought home the gold in 2017, but the State of Georgia reconstructs its patience with university and pro teams.
However, 2018 has started out extraordinarily well for Georgia. The men’s tennis team representing the Clarke-Oconee Tennis Association won the National Invitational Tournament for the 3.5 level in the 65 and over age bracket in Surprise, Arizona in January. Now before you scoff at “just some old guys lobbing tennis balls”, this was anything but. This certainly was not Kirby, Nick or Sony, but nor were these guys pick up players at Bishop Park.
The older one gets, the more proficient they are at placing the ball where the ball should be hit. While the balls were not screaming over the net, they were hit with confidence where the opponent had to move and make an excellent return.
One of the most overused clichés one hears as people get older is “that age is just a number.” I never believed it until I was at the Nationals watching “young” men with old ages running around the courts like – well, like young men. I can now say age means nothing; it is what is in the heart and the desire to compete.
This is more than a sports story, this is a story that encourages all the duffers who love their sport to go out and keep duffing. You’ll never be the best, but you can always get better, regardless of age. Heck, these old guys did.
For the curious reading this, here is what this team did to bring the gold back to Georgia.
The National Championship journey began in June when the team went to Savannah to compete in the state championship. Teams from all over the state qualified and the COTA team beat the likes of Savannah, Augusta, Macon and even more impressively, a couple of teams from Atlanta. Tennis in the Atlanta area is as strong as anywhere in the country, and teams from there usually win. This time they did not.
From there, we went on to the Regional tournament in Hilton Head in December and competed with 9 other states in the South, South Carolina Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas. The semi-final match was against Alabama, and the boys went crazy as Georgia triumphed against South Carolina. These old guys were starting to believe.
The team was then invited to the nationals in Surprise, AZ this past January.
In Surprise, there were 17 teams (all having won their own regionals). There were 4 groupings, much like NCAA basketball or professional tennis. Three of the groups consisted of four teams; the Georgia team was in a group of five.
The team came out and defeated the region winner from the Midwest, then that same day beat the favorite, Southern California. The next day they squeaked by the Mid Atlantic region, and then Puerto Rico. They were in the final four! Shocking, amazing, wonderfully cool.
The team readied themselves for the final day. At 8:00 in the morning, they met New England, and once again, they found a way to beat their opponents. About an hour later, the final was between Georgia and Hawaii. And, as they say, the rest is history.
From a tennis point of view, this team did not dominate, did not beat anyone easily. They simply made the important points when needed. They were simply one point better than anyone else.
From a lifestyle perspective, they are still pinching each other, their wives and fans are still trying to catch their breath and have lived the dream. One might say ”better late than never”; I say if we can do this, the dream is there for anyone.
USTA Georgia Announces Annual Awards
HONOREES RECEIVED AWARDS IN JANUARY
ATLANTA –January 30, 2016– United States Tennis Association (USTA) Georgia has announced its recipients for its 2015 awards given for outstanding achievements in tennis both on and off the court. Twenty-seven categories of winners were recognized during the USTA Georgia Community Tennis Development Workshop at the Atlanta Perimeter Marriott Hotel on January 30, 2016.
Selected winners were nominated as candidates by players and volunteers. The winners were then selected from among the nominees by volunteer members of the Awards Committee.
Three awards were presented to the Clarke-Oconee Tennis Association (COTA).
COTA received the Dr. Robert Bunnen Community Tennis Association (CTA) of the Year award. This award is presented to the CTA that has shown outstanding performance in the areas of: increase in participation, member service, and the promotion of tennis in their community.
Heather Chadwick received the Junior Team Tennis Coordinator of the Year award. This award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated excellent volunteerism, leadership, management and growth of league play at the local level.
David Ragsdale received the Adult Local League Coordinator of the Year award. This award is presented to the individual who has demonstrated excellent volunteerism, leadership, management and growth of local USTA League in Georgia.
Winners of the Oconee County Adult Championships Dec. 11-13
Hosted by Tennis For Life (TFL) Congratulations!
6.0 Women’s Doubles RED Chinami Goodie / Petra Babbitt
6.0 Women’s Doubles WHITE Zeba Najak / Donna Martin
6.0 Women’s Doubles BLUE Sharon Reid / Ann Stoneburner
7.0 Women’s Doubles Denise Fulton / Judith Hoffman
8.0 Women’s Doubles Jacelyn McCall / Nina Sheffield
7.0 Mixed Doubles Anna Martin / Lloyd Martin
7.5 Mixed Doubles Pam Smith / Duane Smith
3.0 Men’s Singles Dempsey Daniel
3.5 Men’s Singles Russ Mills
4.0 Men’s Singles Andrew Gross
7.5 Men’s Doubles Kaleb Sosebb / Satt Shaikh
5 local or nearby junior teounrmanets in October. Click on local tournament tab on top left for more information.
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) recently won the 2015 NAIA national championship in men's tennis and runner up in women's tennis. Both teams were national champs last year 2014. Adam Jackson was their assistant coach and a local Athens area tennis player.
UGA will get 2 more indoor courts. Construction should be complete by January 2017 before the NCAA championships return to Athens in May 2017.
Will Glenn steps down as UGA assistant men's coach. Thanks for 15 great years as a player and coach. Bo Hodges former UGA player will replace him.
Athens Banner Herald Girl Tennis Player of the Year is Caroline Doherty (Athens Academy). Athens Banner Herald Boy Tennis Player of the Year is Hank Sartain (Madison County).
See local players on the All Area High School Teams by clicking on the High Schools tab above
UGA and the tennis world lost a giant with the passing of Dan Magill. Dan coached the UGA men's team for 34 years and several national championships. He brought the NCAA tennis championships to Athens many times and it is now it's semi permanent site. There is a new Bulldog and tennis player in Heaven. RIP Coach Magill.