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Tahoe Tennis Classic returns for 27th year

M.J. "Hersh" Herschman
Special to the Tribune
Published Caption: Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune
ALL |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Tahoe Tennis Classic, the South Shore’s premier tennis event, will play for its 27th year this Friday through Sunday at the Zephyr Cove Park Tennis Complex in Zephyr Cove.

While the draw this year is strong and very competitive, this is the first time in decades that the classic will not fill every spot in each of the divisions. More than half of the participating teams come from out of town. The tournament always hopes to attract local and out-of-town teams to the classic. Without a doubt the competition and the matches will be the best the Lake Tahoe area offers all summer.

The guts of the classic will be played on the newly resurfaced courts at the Zephyr Cove Tennis Club. The courts were resurfaced in spring after an effort spearheaded by a few members of the Zephyr Cove Tennis Club. It was funded by donations from local tennis enthusiasts and tennis supporters from out of the area that have and interests in Zephyr Cove Tennis. The Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners also cooperated with the resurfacing.



The tournament will offer the following seven divisions: Ladies’, Men’s A, Men’s B, Mixed A, Mixed B, Century (where the combined ages of the team must equal a minimum of 100 years) and the Super Century (where the combined ages of the team must equal a minimum 130 years).

The most competitive division this year will be the Mixed B. Any one of the teams in this division could be crowned the champion. Locals Mike Espinosa and Charna Knerr have garnered the top seed. Espinosa’s game is rapidly improving and he has assuredly become one of the better players on the South Shore. Knerr’s game is filled with gumption and guile making her a very tough competitor. First time entrants, Vince and Sara Catania, from Tahoe’s North Shore, will hold the second seed.



Florida and part-time Nevada residents Paul and Louise Proffer have earned the third seed. Paul Proffer has a huge lefty serve and Louise Proffer’s creative shot making ability and dependable service return could easily put them on the victory stand. Greg and Sue Beaumonte from Petaluma, Calif., always a classic favorite have earned the fourth seed. Locals Barbara Cooper and John Hitchcock will bring a lot of pressure to the competition. Hitchcock has a howitzer of a serve and Cooper uses her smarts and athleticism to the fullest.

Tournament event favorites are the Century Division and the Super Century Division. Indian Wells, Calif. residents Randy Houston and Mark Peterson are once again the number one seed in the Century Division. They both are stylish attacking players that possess confidence in their abilities. The second seed team in the Century division is Indian Wells, Calif. resident and Zephyr Cove Tennis Club’s seasonal teaching Pro Rob Wheatley. Wheatley brings his entertaining and ballistic capabilities to the mix. He will team with local Bob Beautenmiller. Beautenmiller is a player who is known for lightening quick foot speed and amazing consistency.

Dennis Bowers of Hemet, Calif. will team with Richard Ortiz of Southern California in both the Century and Super Century divisions. Ortiz is fresh off a Bronze Ball victory performance at the National 65’s Indoor tournament recently played at Vancouver, Wash. Bowers, who also holds Bronze Ball victories, has the unique feature of hitting overhead shots both left handed or right handed. They will take the third seed spot in the Century Division. The fourth seed for the Century Division will be Tad Yukawa of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Yukawa is a gifted ball striker, he will team with the nationally ranked Greg Shepard of Napa Valley, Calif.

Bowers and Ortiz will take the top seed spot in the Super Century Division.

Tournament director, M.J. “Hersh” Herschman will team with Jim Nelson of Palm Desert, Calif. for the second seed. Nelson has cagey anticipation and an uncanny ability to use the court like a chessboard. Nelson is the holder of over one hundred Gold Balls. Holding the third seed are David Lee of Reno and Stan Wilkins of Palm Desert, Calif. Lee, a former professional basketball player, will once again bring his ace making serves to the Classic and Wilkins back hand return is a sight to behold. Locals Les Spear and Bill Matthews will showcase their amazing shot making skills and powerful baseline game.

The Men’s A division is usually the most spectator friendly event and this year is no exception. The “Young Buck” team of local Jimmy Roberts and Indian Wells, Calif. resident Donald Felich will play as the number one seed. Roberts thunderous forehand and Felich’s return smarts and fighting spirit will prove them as a team to be reckoned with. Randy Houston and Mark Peterson will play as the second seed. Ryan Johnston, one of the South Shore’s best players, will team with former local Colin Moulton for the third seed. Johnston is known for hitting “big smoke” off of both sides. Moulton’s blistering serve will be a great compliment to the team. The fourth seed is the team of Steve Fabela of Sacramento and Louis Dos Reis of Monterey, Calif. Both of these players have penetrating ground strokes and text book volleys.

In the Ladies’ division, last year’s dual champion Isabelle Kling of Sacramento will partner with Natalya Bach as the first seed. Playing the tournament for the first time is the team of Jeannette Berry and Holly Tretten, both from Reno. Reputed to be versatile and scrappy players they have earned the second seed. Pam Schulz of Palm Desert, Calif., a nationally ranked player and one of the elite players of the Coachella Valley in Southern California, will team with local Joyce Youngs. Youngs consistently works hard on her game and has developed into one of the better female players in the area. Tahoe’s North shore sends the sister team of Carol Zwick and Claire Perry to the classic for the first time. Both are very strong, consistent and skilled players. They have earned the number four seed.

Usually the Men’s B is the most participated in event of the tournament. However this year the event is down to just eight teams. Father and son teams dominate the event this year. Tahoe’s North Shore sends the team of Vince and Duane Catania and they will hold the top seed. Jan and Kevin Whitmeyer of Palm Desert will be the number two seeded team. Kevin Whitmeyer’s timing enables him to generate explosive power from both sides and Jan Whitmeyer demonstrates formidable volleys. Scott Garfinkle and Earnst Korbel both of Incline Village will take up the third seed spot. Korbel, who is a former professional ski racer, very nicely transcended his skills in that sport to the game of tennis. Garfinkle is the son of Buddy and Betsy Garfinkle. Buddy Garfinkle is a tennis and sports legend in the Reno and North Shore Tahoe areas. Scott Garfinkle was blessed with genes from both of his parents when it comes to skills of the game. He is an explosive and quick footed players who hits two hands off both sides. Bill Cover of LaQuinta, Calif. and Barry Eckenroth of Temecula, Calif., last year’s Classic’s semi finalists, will be the fourth seed. Eckenroth has a monster of a forehand and Cover’s creative shot making could put them in the winner’s circle.

The Mixed A division will find Isabelle Kling and Mike Norton and Sacramento as the number one seed. Kling is arguably the best female to ever play in the classic. She is a wonderful shot maker and Norton’s game compliments Isabelle’ game perfectly.


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