Classic weekend in store for tennis fans |

Classic weekend in store for tennis fans

Provided to the Tribune

Tahoe tennis enthusiasts are in for a treat this weekend.

The 20th annual Tahoe Classic Tennis Tournament is set for this weekend, attracting teams throughout the country.

Spectators are welcome to watch, so bring a lawn chair to Zephyr Cove Park and settle in and watch some of the best tennis the South Shore sees for the year.

Matches begin at 8 a.m. Friday through Sunday.

All six divisions are filled with 16 teams each. The exception is the Men’s B Division, which will accommodate 20 teams after 25 expressed interest.

Tournament organizers Hersh Herschman, Sheryl Herschman and Greg Painter take pride in attracting “talented, well-mannered participants who won’t sell out on their integrity in the heat of battle,” according to Hersh.

The most difficult job for the trio of tournament directors is seeding the participants. National champions, national finalists and former Grand Slam participants are sprinkled throughout the draw, so “seeding is a real puzzlement for us,” said Hersh.

The Century Division will showcase the strongest bracket in Classic history, Hersh said. Any of the 12 doubles teams could claim the championship prize.

Hersh Herschman and Butch Stillman are back to defend their title and are seeded No. 1. Last year’s Men’s A finalists Mike Peterson of Indian Wells, Calif., and Craig Gorback of Reno are ranked second. The versatile Rick Taylor of Watsonville, Calif., and K.C. Jackson of San Jose, twice a national age division finalist, are seeded No. 3

Reno’s David Lee brings his monster forehand to the Classic for the first time. He teams with Ken Robinson, who has won numerous national titles. Masterful Wayne Prim, a longtime Nevada resident, is paired with Logan Woolley of Salt Lake City.

Hersh recently played against Logan and said that his opponent is one of the purest ball strikers he has seen in a long time.

Dale Larson and John Hitchcock, 2001 finalists, return to fight back challengers in the Men’s B Division.

Buzz Harris of Carson City and Tim Lyons of Palm Desert, Calif., are ranked second. Lyons brings his creative shot-making talent to the Classic after a year’s absence.

Riverside, Calif., sends the father/son duo of Dave and James Jaehnig as the third seed. Dave is known for his firepower from both sides.

Jim Berry of Indian Wells, Calif., and Ron Liss of Danville, Calif., round out the seeding.

“I have played with Jim numerous times in the desert this past winter and his menacing groundies could carry his team to the championship,” Hersh said.

George Swift is coming all the way from Columbus, Ga., to participate in the Classic for the first time.

“George is one of the better Seniors players in the nation’s Southern Region,” Hersh said. “His lightning-quick court coverage makes him a formidable opponent.

Mixed A Class competitors can expect Jim Wilson, teaching pro at Zephyr Cove Tennis Complex, bringing his blistering serve and punishing groundstrokes. After winning the Men’s A Division last year, he will team in the Mixed A with Kim Schlagel, who Hersh calls the best female tennis player in the Tahoe area.

Randall Burt of the North Shore brings a howitzer of a serve and teams with local Kathy Wharton.

“Kathy works hard on her game and always brings a fighting spirit,” Hersh said.

Locals Ryan Johnston and Vanessa Smaine promise to bring a devastating ground attack as first-time partners in the Classic.

Woolley partners with gracious Miriam Prim to make up a team that will be a worthy contender.

If spectators are looking for a division packed with locals, then look no further than the Mixed B Division.

Among the locals to watch for our Phil and Joyce Youngs, who bring their penetrating groundies and textbook volleys to the event as the top seed.

Rick Beberg of Yuba City, Calif., partners with La Quinta, Calif., player Andy Davis to form the second second. Davis and her husband, Bob, are former full-time residents of the South Shore.

Bringing mental toughness and a potent ground attack to the division are third-seeded Tom “Rocky” Reid of Stockton, Calif., and local Terry Bengtson. Longtime Classic favorites Ken and Trudy Miya of Lake Sherwood, Calif., return as the fourth seed and fans can expect them to showcase their shot-making prowess and powerful baseline game.

Hersh gives as many as 12 teams a chance to win this class.

Reno’s Dan Ott and Rob Medeiros, a pair of scrappy hard-court players with great mobility, sit on top of the Men’s A Division. South Shore’s Cal Waite, last year’s Men’s A champion, teams with Scott Borowiak of San Jose to form the second seed. Reno teaching pro Craig Gorbach and his overpowering serve goes to war with Mark Peterson of Indian Wells, Calif. Peterson is fresh off a victory in the Bay Area and is nationally ranked in his age division.

Also watch out for Rich Taylor and K.C. Jackson and Glen Grissillo and Reno’s Vonia Apadoca. Grissillo has played at Wimbledon and Apadoca is the first female ever to enter the Men’s A Division.

“Will we boys have a hard time of it if she beats us,” Hersh said.

Back to defend their titles in the Ladies Division are South Lake Tahoe’s Linda Hixenbaugh and Apadoca. Second seeds are Schlagel and Dianna Henderson. Both have wicked slices and a strong kick serve to complement their potent ground attack.

Wharton and her explosive serve comes into the event with an undisclosed teammate to garner the third seed.

Smaine and Reno’s Danielle Board are seeded fourth.

Past Classic champions will be recognized and presented with a gift during the tournament dinner Saturday night at Round Hill Pines.

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