12-year-old wins Tahoe Classic title
ZEPHYR COVE – An all-Tahoe final and a 12-year-old champion highlighted the 24th edition of the Tahoe Classic tennis doubles tournament Sunday at the Zephyr Tennis Complex.
In what could have been a friendly match on any given Sunday, Layne Hazam of Stateline and Karla Johnston of South Lake Tahoe defeated the North Shore-South Shore duo of Ken Hotchkiss and Joyce Youngs, 7-5, 6-2.
“We’re all friends and we play on a regular basis,” Hazam said. “It can go either way when we play.”
The right-handed Hazam and left-handed Johnston were an effective pairing as they played to side of the court that suited their forehand and serving strengths.
“Karla had a great return of serve today, which probably won us the match,” Hazam said.
While many of the participants were in their 30s, 40s and 50s, there was room for a tournament wunderkind.
Bob Beutenmiller of South Lake Tahoe teamed with 12-year-old James Tenbroek of Gardnerville to capture the men’s B title. They defeated former winners Rick Beberg and Dave Nelson in the final, 6-2, 6-4.
Beutenmiller and Tenbroek also entered last year’s tournament but didn’t make it to the final match. This time, Tenbroek was more poised to finish the task.
“The reason we won was because James stepped up and hit every big shot,” Beutenmiller said. “What’s he gonna be like two or three years from now? A monster.”
Tenbroek said his love of tennis began by watching his parents play and from developing an early affinity for a tennis ball in the family’s car.
“I love watching it,” said Tenbroek, who hopes to become a professional player one day.
The most successful player in the three-day tournament was South Lake Tahoe’s Vanessa Smaine, who won the ladies championship with South Lake Tahoe’s Linda Hixenbaugh and then partnered with Ryan Johnston of South Lake Tahoe to capture the mixed A title.
The velocity of Smaine and Johnston’s returns made it tough on their opponents. Hixenbaugh and last-minute doubles partner selection Bob Balfour tried to take Smaine and Johnston out of their game with some well-placed shots at the net but eventually succumbed to their power, 6-1, 6-2.
“We play a lot of power and our serve returns are pretty key for us. We put a lot of pressure on the server by having good serve returns,” Ryan Johnston said.
“It’s pretty much a one-two – a great return and then a great close,” said Smaine, who also won the mixed A title in 2002 and competed in the finals the past two years.
STHS coach Kyle Horvath and Tahoe partner Jenny Bentley lost a tough three-setter to Hixenbaugh and Balfour in the semifinals, 7-6, 5-7, 7-6.
Earlier, Smaine and Hixenbaugh denied Becky Smiser and Colleen Witterschein a repeat ladies’ championship, rallying for a 2-6, 7-6, 6-4 triumph. Bentley and South Shore partner Joyce Youngs were ousted by Smiser and Witterschein in the semis.
David Lee of Reno and accomplished national champion Ken Robinson denied tournament co-director Hersh Herschman from adding to his title collection in the super century division. Lee and Robinson, however, were hard-pressed to dispatch Herschman and Butch Stillman 6-4, 7-6.
“If we had lost, it wasn’t going to be (Robinson’s) fault,” Lee said. “When I’m out there on the court with a champion like him, it’s like I’ve gone to heaven.”
Other winners included Reno’s Bob Deller and Sacramento’s Mike Smith, men’s A division; and Mark Peterson and Randy Houston made it a three-peat in the century class, blitzing San Diego’s Mike LaCaze and Toby McFarlane in the finals, 6-0, 6-1.
Co-tournament director Sheryl Herschman said that next year’s 25th Classic could be the last.
“If Douglas County could build us two more courts, we could (continue) to do it indefinitely,” Sheryl said. “Every single (division) has to have at least two matches off site. There is a need for that here apart from the tournament.”
The Herschmans kept the Classic running on schedule by holding off-site matches at the residences of Bill Killebrew and Wayne Prim.
Tahoe Classic Results
Friday through Sunday
At Zephyr Cove tennis courts
Hixenbaugh-Smaine def. Hensley-Weaver 7-6 (11-9), 6-3
Smiser-Witterschein def. Youngs-Bentley 6-4, 6-4
Hixenbaugh-Smaine def. Smiser-Witterschein 2-6, 7-6, 6-4
Brooks-Pinnow def. Tolks-Bakalar 7-5, 2-6, 6-4
MEN’S A DIVISION
Webb-Mendivil def. Farran-Richter 6-2, 6-3
Deller-Smith def. Jaehnigs 6-2, 6-0
Deller-Smith def. Webb-Mendivil 6-3, 6-3
Horvath-R. Johnston def. Turner-Chip 6-1, 6-3
MIXED A DIVISION
R. Johnston-Smaine def. Dave and Libby Jaehnig 6-2, 6-3
Hixenbaugh-Balfour def. Horvath-Bentley 7-6, 5-7, 7-6
R. Johnston-Smaine def. Hixenbaugh-Balfour 6-1, 6-2
Chip-Long def. Shulz-Manuel 6-3, 7-5
MIXED B DIVISION
Hotchkiss-Youngs def. Castleberryl 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Hazam-K. Johnston def. Beaumontes 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
Hazam-K. Johnston def. Hotchkiss-Youngs 7-5, 6-2
Schiller-Wacker def. Fowler-Smiser 6-4, 6-4
MEN’S B DIVISION
Beutenmiller-Tenbroek def. Hubbard-Nelson 6-3, 6-1
Beberg-Nelson def. Fugitt-Hazam 6-2, 6-4
Beutenmiller-Tenbroek def. Beberg-Nelson 6-2, 6-4
Cranston-Sannazzaro def. Edmondson-Matthews 6-3, 6-1
Peterson-Houston def. Engstrom-Mendivil 6-3, 6-2
LaCaze-McFarlane def. Hubbard-Nelson 7-5, 7-5
Peterson-Houston def. LaCaze-McFarlane 6-0, 6-1
Cranston-Allen def. Trebotich-Eckenroth 6-3, 6-3
SUPER CENTURY DIVISION
Lee-Robinson def. Beberg-Nelson 6-3, 4-6, 6-1
Herschman-Stillman def. Andy and George Shackleford 6-4, 6-0
Lee-Robinson def. Herschman-Stillman 6-4, 7-6
Muchines-Allen def. Hensley-Weaver 6-3, 6-3