Brett Blevins new head pro at Cliff Farrar

Banana Open

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerApril 20, 2014 

The Cliff Farrar Tennis Center at Idle Hour has a new head pro, and he is a Phenix City native familiar with local tennis.

Brett Blevins, former No. 1 player at Central High school, has taken over as full time pro at the Tennis Center.

"I am excited about getting this job and doing work with local people. I want to bring back several programs and continue to grow tennis," said Blevins.

He has been at his new job about one month, taking over for Brent Pelletier.

Currently Glenwood and Central High play all of their home matches at Cliff Farrar, but Blevins hopes to return some old favorites as well as add new programs.

"The men's double scramble was a big event here but has gone by the wayside. I want to get that back along with the ladies doubles scramble as well," said Blevins. "I also want to add a beginner's clinic for adults and continue the summer program for youth as well."

"I am also going to give lessons and all proceeds will go back to the city," he added. "They can call the center at 334-291-4733 and schedule the lessons. I also plan to have courts for pros when courts are not available at Cooper Creek due to team matches.

Cliff Farrar's courts were resurfaced 10 years ago, and Blevins says that resurfacing the courts is back on the table.

"I am told that it will happen in about a year or two, and I know people have asked about it. " Blevins added.

Blevins signed a tennis scholarship to play at Marion Military, but a severe knee injury curtailed that. Blevins had to get surgery and was unable to continue play at a high level.

"The injury was unfortunate because it happened in my very first match. I had to get surgery and left school and returned home," the 20-year-old pro reported. "I am excited about this opportunity and am committed to working hard."

Banana Open

For the 37th annual Banana Open, 281 local players signed up for the adult divisions, and champions were crowned in 26 categories.

Winners of the 2014 tournament are eligible for the Banana Challenge held each year at Hilton Head with other Southern winners. They also earn valuable points for the annual KIA Tournament of Champions.

There was no separate senior tournament this year, as weather also delayed the adult tournament and wiped out several matches in senior play last year. The junior tournament begins this week.

Winners in the women's division were as follows in singles: 2.5-Cassie Trask, 3.0-Laura Santos, 3.5-Renee Chiaverini, 4.0-Kellie Felt, 4.5-Cathryn Albright. In men's singles the winners were 2.5-Michael Ernst, 3.0- Tyler Martindill, 3.5-Craig Parker, 4.0-Canyon Bowie, 4.5-Brad Burgess and in the Open category-Kazuki Onoe.

In doubles, the men's winners were 2.5-Ray Cronise-Daniel Huckaby, 3.0-Brian Littleton-Chandler Wilkes, 3.5-Ben Malo-Stone Hutto, 4.0-Brad and Brady Bowden, 4.5-Burges-Sloan Perry Open-Brent Pelletier-Alex Vasilescu. The women's winners were 2.5-Kelly Masic-Eden Treadway, 3.0-Ene Bostrup-Kristi Gatti, 3.5-Paige King-Anna Lindgren, 4.0-Cathy Gunnels-Julie Huckaby, 4.5-Allison Cripe-Jennifer Vasilescu.

In mixed the winners were: 3.0-Matthew Hill-Michelle Human, 3.5-Chiaverini-Darren Odendaal, 4.0-Jackie Fitzpatrick-Steve Smith,4.5-Jaclyn Bruer-Rick Stoller.

Special Olympics

CORTA's Debi Caldwell was able to get 152 athletes from eight schools and the Columbus Parks and Recreation special population program to come to Cooper Creek on the last Friday in March for the 8th annual Special Olympic Tennis Games.

"It doesn't matter what the level, we have basic skills and skills competition, drills and doubles pairing a non-disabled athlete with a disabled athlete," said Caldwell. "It lasts all morning and is a really wonderful and busy time."

Volunteers from Glenwood, Brookstone and CSU, as well as the CORTA teen council, ensured that everything ran smoothly.

"And for the first time Country's saw what we were doing and provided a lunch for all the participants," said Caldwell. "That means all proceeds will allow us to take athletes to the state games at the end of May.

"There are competitors from age five to 78 in this year's games," she added.

CORTA spring champions

The spring season for adults 18 and up and age 40 and up are complete, and these teams join the fall 2013 winners in competing in May in district championships throughout the state for each level. District tournaments will be held in Rome, Augusta, Macon and Athens.

Columbus is the site for the 3.0 and 4.0 men and women's state championships during the last weekend in May. Last year over 950 players from all over the state competed in the district.

Championship team captains in the men's adult divisions were: 2.5-Patrick Childress, 3.0-Josh Chandler, 3.5-Steve Walburg, 4.0 Low-Richard Reid-Bo Isom, 4.0-David Overby, 4.5-Chris Parmer. In the women's divisions team captain winners were: 2.5-Ashley McCoy, 3.0-Teri McRae, 3.5-Kerri Medders-Anna Lindgren, 4.0 Low-Kelly Cliett-Michelle Beach, 4.0-Alexis Miller, 4.5-Christy Bates. All winning teams played out of Cooper Creek.

In the senior 40s divisions, two Green Island teams won their spring seasons. The men's 4.0 team, captained by David Snipes, was the winners along with the women's 3.5 Sherri Taylor. Other teams were from Cooper Creek, and they were: 3.0-Michael Dixon-John Sievers and 3.5-Scott Laymon. In the women's divisions: 3.0-Teresa Ellison-Alice Peters, 4.0-Debi Johnson and 4.5-Christy Bates.

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