Tallahassee Tennis News - February 15, 2018
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Tallahassee Tennis News

Captain Appreciation

In December we asked for your help in nominating captains, players and volunteers who deserved recognition for their contribution to the USTA League program during the 2017 season. You responded and it's time to reveal those selections starting with our Captain of the Year.

To put these nominations in perspective you should note that during the 2017 championship calendar, 106 different individuals served as a Captain or Co-Captain of a Leon County team. Forty-two of these individuals captained more than one team during the year.

You captained how many teams?!

Each league and each team is unique. Each presents different challenges, different player combinations and different matchups. Whether it's scheduling play around holidays and family events, school and work schedules, winter cold, summer heat, afternoon showers, or football season, Captains go the extra mile to make league play rewarding for everyone. 

In 2017, Denean Sykes captained 12 teams including the Mixed 40 & Over 7.0 National Champions. Jim Cobb followed next captaining 7 teams. Individual captaining 6 teams include: Emily Corbett, Jenny Jolinski, Andrew Lawyer and Rhonda Tullos. Leslie Horner captained 5 teams during the year.

Seven individuals captained 4 teams during the year. These 7 are: Kelly Corbari, Brenda Jahn, Mary Warner, Mary Rose Sirianni, Susan Morton, Jeff Banka and Thomas Yeager. Individuals captaining 3 teams include: Brad Hollis, John Terrel, Lisa Williams, Mariela Bartens-Santurri, Martha Hodgson, Denise Whitlock, Mark Horner and Sunil Patel.

Nineteen individuals captained two teams during the year and another 64 captained one team.

Thank you to everyone who took on the Captain role!

Mariela Bartens Santurri
Captain of the Year - Mariela Bartens-Santurri 

This award is presented to a League Captain who displays a high level of sportsmanship and has earned the respect of their players and peers. The Captain is knowledgeable of league rules, plays by them, and ensures players on his/her team follow the rules. The Captain is respectful of others, has good communication skills with team members and other captains. The Captain has made significant efforts to promote fair play for the betterment of an enjoyable league experience. This Captain recruits new players to league tennis and encourages continued participation of veteran players.

Notable accomplishments and reasons you believe this person deserves the award.

On behalf of Mariela Bartens-Santurri's 40 & Over and 18 & Over USTA teams, we believe she deserves recognition given her devotion to the game of tennis, her outstanding leadership as a captain, her support for her fellow players in the tennis community on and off the court, and her strong sportsmanship. While Mariela has a keen competitive spirit, her first goal is for players to have fun and for play to be fair.

Mariela and Rhonda Tullos were recognized  this fall for their sportsmanship in leading the new 5.5 Mixed Doubles Combo league. They not only stepped up to captain teams for this league, but also coordinated on lineups so that players played with new partners each week and had plenty of opportunities to play and meet new people.  For their efforts to encourage new players and make tennis fun for them, Bobby York recognized them with a Sportsmanship Award.  

Mariela encourages player development by arranging regular clinics and practices for her teams throughout the year. Mariela ensures all team members get sufficient opportunity to play and she is always there until the end of each match cheering the team on. When make-up matches are required, she even goes to other team members' make-up matches even if they aren't all played on the same day.

Mariela is a very organized and efficient captain. She carefully plans for each match identifying not only the lineup, but also designated backups for any given match, so there is no risk of missing out on play because of a team forfeit due to unexpected circumstances.

Mariela keeps the team well-informed on pertinent USTA and League issues and knows the importance of good communication with her fellow captains to ensure things run smoothly on match night. She is knowledgeable about the rules and a good role model for playing by the rules. She also gives players the opportunity to get to  know each other and have fun off the court with periodic social get-togethers.  

Mariela led her 40 & Over and 18 & Over teams to Sectionals this year and also played on the 5.5 and 6.5 Combo League teams that went to Sectionals. And even in the excitement of going to Sectionals this summer, on her way home from Orlando Mariela made time to visit a tennis friend who was recovering from surgery.

How does your nominee give back to the local community?

Mariela has a big heart and as one team member put it: "It seems like every week she is bringing dinner to a sick friend or participating in some type of charitable activity." As a member and Past President of the Tallahassee Board of Realtors, Mariela has been involved in numerous community outreach programs and has received the Tallahassee Board of Realtors' Volunteer of the Year Award.

She is the founder and chairperson of  the Board of Realtors' Annual Big Bend Habitat for Humanity 5K Run. She participated in her realty company's pet adoption program, and came home with an adopted dog!

Mariela is an annual Salvation Army Bell Ringer. She has organized a fundraiser for Second Harvest of the Big Bend Backpack Program.  She has been a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for over ten years. Mariela helps assemble and serve Thanksgiving meals for those in need. She collected donations for hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

Mariela inspires a sense of giving in her team and instead of our usual Christmas gift exchange, this year we got gifts for Toys for Tots. Mariela is very active in promoting tennis in the community and has volunteered at The Challenger Tournament.

Is there anything else you would like mentioned?

Mariela is an outstanding captain, putting countless hours behind the scenes and on the court to ensure that tennis is fun, fair and competitive for all players on the courts.

Congratulations Mariela Bartens-Santurri our 2017 USTA League Captain of the Year!

Junior Team Tennis
Spring Junior Team Tennis

Junior Team Tennis for ages 8 to 14 returns to Tom Brown Park on Saturdays from 9:00 – 10:45 AM. The 6-week season begins February 24. No matches are scheduled during Spring Break. Rain makeup dates are Sundays at 2:00 PM.

The $55.00 registration includes weekly matches and practices, team shirt, court time, and balls. For more information, please contact Glen Howe at (850-891-4979) or George English at (850-510-6585).

Team Jolinski
Tri-Level Championships

The 2017 USTA Florida Tri-Level Play-Off was held this month at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach. Teams captained by Jenny Jolinski, Susan Morton and Andrew Lawyer advanced from local league play to compete for a chance to advance to the National Championship tournament in Indian Wells, California in March.

Captain Jenny Jolinski said afterward "It was unbelievable that we won 3 out of 4 matches and came in 3rd in our flight!" The team was paired against others from Polk, Duval, Marion, and Lee/Charlotte counties. Polk, Duval and the Leon ladies each finished with a 3-1 record. The Polk County team advanced to the Sunday finals against Escamia County with a 10-2 individual record, besting Duval's 8-4 and Leon's 7-5. 

Pictured above left to right: Jenny Jolinski (Captain), Emily Corbett, Jennifer Winegardner, Debbie Beers, Kathy Rossman, Cyndi Andrews, Jennifer Britt, Sharon Nicholson. Not pictured: Susan Ragsdale, Tracy Propp.

Team Lawyer
Andrew Lawyer captained both a 3.0/3.5/4.0 and a 3.5/4.0/4.5 team at the tournament. After the weekend Andrew stated "Our 3.5/4.0/4.5 team went winless this weekend versus teams from Duval, Marion, Brevard & Escambia Counties. Although we got no wins, the majority of our matches did go to 3rd set tiebreakers and 1-2 losses. Duval County ended up winning the finals versus Broward County. The MVPs for the weekend were the 3.5 team of Avinash Ramaswamy & Geoffrey Becker (2-2). We learned a lot and these guys say they want to do this league again."
Team Lawyer
"Our 3.0/3.5/4.0 played a double round robin versus teams from Escambia and Duval Counties. We recorded a 1-3 record against some very good competition. A lot of very close matches. The MVPs for the weekend was the 3.0 team of Krishna Namilikonda and Nathaniel Tanner (2-0). Great competition! Duval County ended up winning the division."

Congratulations to Teams Jolinski, Morton and Lawyer for your Local League Championship and representing Leon County in Daytona!

Our 2018 Tri-Level season begins this weekend for 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0 players. Matches take place Saturday afternoons at 4:00 PM through April. Complete the Spring Tri-Level Sign Up form today if you would like to join a team.
Looking for a team or a league that fits your schedule? Contact me today to get started.

Bobby York
Local League Coordinator
USTA Leagues are the country’s largest recreational tennis league. There are leagues available for all ages and skill. Contact a League Coordinator to get started.

Bobby York

(850) 443-6795

USTA Florida Staff Directory
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