Robert Hurst and Joni Breault have been captains and played USTA league tennis for several years, and this month at the Georgia USTA senior championships, both of their teams captured state titles. The tournament was held the first full weekend in June at the Cooper Creek Tennis Center with over 900 players. Hurst's team won the men's 3.0, and Breault's team won the women's 3.5 titles.
Other teams from Columbus participated. Ted Preston's 3.5 men's team lost in the finals, and Jackie Harris' 3.0 ladies lost to Atlanta in their title match. Jay Pease's men's team finished second in the 4.5 men's, as well."
Hurst and Breault had nothing but good things to say about their teams' efforts. Hurst's team had to win its last two matches, and Breault's team went undefeated in their section.
"We lost the first match by 2-1 and won the second one by the same score," Hurst said. "So whoever won that last match was going to the Southern sectionals, and we won 3-0."
Hurst teamed with Steve Horne, and they went undefeated in three matches.
"Steve was just inducted in the Columbus State Athletic Hall of Fame the week before for his play on the baseball team and was honored at his 40th high school reunion at Jordan," said Hurst. "So it was exciting for him."
Breault's team beat Savannah in the finals.
"This is probably the biggest team I have ever had at seniors as I had 14 players on the roster and everyone played in the state tournament. This was their reward for winning the local title," Breault said.
She also cited the play of the team of Mary Blackmon, former CSU tennis coach, and Dalma Bogan for their big win.
"I think they (their opponents) thought that they would steamroll them, but Mary was on her game and Dalma was a good partner," Breault said.
"This was the best team I have ever been associated with as anyone would play with any partner; it did not matter," Breault said. "The attitude of everyone was the reason I think we did so well."
Hurst and Breault had won titles before -- Hurst last year and Breault in 2008 -- but both agreed this year's editions were very satisfying. Both teams will play August 2-5 in Mobile at the Newton Cox Tennis Center for the Southern USTA seniors and a chance to advance to the nationals.
Hurst's team included Horne, Kim Kimmel, Robert Miller, Ben Taylor, Robert Madayag, Roger Hopper and David Hooten. Members of Breault's team, including Bogan and Blackmon, were Helen Martin, Yvonne Wilbanks, Kathy Tessin, Leslie Reiney, Iris Warnock, Linda Samples, Camilla Callaway, Cindy Williams, Ene Pate, Jan Austin and Ruth Hubbard.
Georgia Junior Open Clay Court Championships
The Columbus Country Club will host its 12th straight junior championships Saturday with junior boys and girls competing in age brackets from 10-18. Doubles will also compete with the exception of boys 10s. The tournament runs June 23-26.
"Right now, we have 243 total entries, and I will be narrowing it to 32 in each age bracket as we'll have more than that in some," said host pro Jimmy Fitzpatrick.
With such a large draw, matches will also be held at Cooper Creek next weekend. Several local players have entered, but the biggest local name so far is 16-year-old Christian Garay, who has entered the 18s.
"We have not yet seeded everyone, but at present I am expecting Gray will get the No. 1 seed in the boys 18s." Fitzpatrick said.
Joining Garay in the 18s will be Ellis Bunn, Carlos Arena and Kazuki Onoe. In the boys 16s, it will be Jonathon Dreelin, Parker Bray and Preston Morpeth from Columbus and Daniel Peacock and Gray Wells from Buena Vista, Ga. Other local boys in the tournament will be Luke Harden, Jeremiah Harrison and Hayden Spicer in 14s; Reed Bickerstaff and Jack Cabelka in 12s; and Jake Courville and Jack Schondelmayer in 10s.
In girls 18s Haley Powell will be playing with Cassidy Cabelka. In girls 14s, it will be Rachel Hemmings and Mayu Onoe; Mary Weston Courville, Grace Glass and Gracie Hemmings are in the 12s; and Elizabeth Blanchard, Sara Hill and Sydney McRae are in the 10s.
Open Arms Doubles tournament
Nita Perry, tennis pro at the Willow Creek Tennis Center wants adult players to know that the Open Arms tennis tournament will return to Willow Creek on July 25-29. All proceeds go to the Open Arms nonprofit foundation to provide housing for families that are going through long-term traumatic illnesses.