Pelham tennis teams return from national tourney

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A pair of teams from the Pelham Racquet Club recently returned home from California and Arizona after beating several teams from across the country at the U.S. Tennis Association’s national championship tournament.

Members of the Pelham women’s 4.0 team competed in their national championship in Tucson, Ariz., from Sept. 23-25, and came away with a third-place finish in their tournament after falling in the championship semifinals to a team from Virginia.

To reach the semifinals, the team beat teams from Arizona, New York and Los Angeles. After falling in the semifinals, the Pelham women beat a team from New England to clinch the third-place finish.

“The girls did real well and ended up coming in third place out of a lot of teams,” said Pelham Parks a Recreation Director Billy Crandall, who is a member of the Pelham 2.5 men’s team.

Women’s 4.0 team members are Karen Amidon, Susie Barnes, Luann Causey, Dianna Clifton, Ramona Cunningham, Jean Deal, Liz Dove, Debbie Drake, Colleen Ellis, Kathy McLeod, Linda Sink, Robin Sparks, Wendi Stanley, Lisa Steed and Teresa Turner.

Members of the Pelham 2.5 men’s team earned a third-place finish in their flight while competing in their national championship in Palm Springs, Calif.

During their flight, the men defeated teams from Arizona and Florida, but lost matches to a team from Puerto Rico and Pennsylvania. However, the Pelham team won one set against the eventual national champion Puerto Rican team.

“We beat them in our first match, and we were real proud of that. That was their first loss in two years,” Crandall said. “Puerto Rico actually ended up winning the championship, and Pennsylvania came in second place.”

Men’s 2.5 team members are Crandall, Tim Durrett, Matthew Litz, Chad Miller, James Mizell and Steve Myrick. Omar Alcaino is the team’s coach.

By competing on a national stage, the Pelham team brought “great exposure” to the city, Crandall said.

“I will tell you this: There was not a team there that the Pelham Racquet Club could not have beat,” Crandall said. “By the end of the tournament, they definitely knew where we were from.”

The Pelham men’s 3.0-level team is set to compete in its national championship in Tucson from Oct. 21-23. Men’s 3.0 team members are Darryl Collins, Heith Comer, Paul Comer, Patrick Dorough, Jason Hoffman, Rob Ingram, Lynn Lovelady, Patrick Mills, Andy Walsh, Darrell Warren and Ming Xia.