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Tennis team earns way to nationals

October 14, 2004|by LARRY YANOS

larryy@herald-mail.com

A men's tennis team, comprised primarily of Washington County athletes, has earned a trip to the national United States Tennis Association-sponsored tournament in Tucson, Ariz.

The tournament dates are Oct. 28-31.

The group of 11 players - carrying a 4.0 rating in the 50 to 60 age group - will represent the Mid-Atlantic Region. They earned the trip by capturing championships in the West Virginia League, District and Section competition.

"This is the first men's tennis team from this area to advance to the nationals," team captain John Urner said. "We were close last year. We lost the finals of the section in a tie-breaker to a team which eventually won the national championship."

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The local group competes in a league which includes teams from Hagerstown, Winchester, Va., Clarke County, Va., and Leesburg, Va.

They captured league honors with a 9-0 regular season record, then won the district title by virtue of being the league champions and the sectionals in Newport News, Va., against teams from Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Urner and his team look forward to the upcoming challenge.

"There will be 17 sectional champions represented at the nationals and we're in a four-team flight, paired with Northern, Eastern and New England Regions," Urner said. "I believe the Northern includes Minnesota and North and South Dakota, the Eastern includes New York City and State and the Northeastern includes everything above New York. We'll play five matches in three days."

The roster includes Washington County residents Urner, David Creek, Robert Stambaugh, Ned Weirich, Phil Statton, James Holzapfel, Robert Stayman and Bill Sowers as well as Joe Meyer and Rodger Smith of Waynesboro, Pa., and Walter Bohrer of Martinsburg, W.Va.

During the year, the team uses the outdoor tennis courts at St. James and The Tennis Club, the indoor tennis courts in Zullinger, Pa., near Waynesboro, Pa.

"I think we'll be competitive," Urner said. "The ability level on our team is pretty even and we have good depth."

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