Tahoe Classic this weekend
Provided to the Tribune
Tennis enthusiasts of the Tahoe Basin are in for a treat this weekend as the 22nd annual Tahoe Classic tennis tournament will grace the area’s beautiful shores in Zephyr Cove.
“Easily the biggest and best tennis tournament of any in Nevada and Northern California,” said longtime tourney director Hersh Herschman.
Along with tournament co-directors Sheryl Herschman and Greg and Holly Painter, the couples say that they pride themselves on attracting well-mannered participants who love to come to Tahoe and renew old acquaintances.
This year’s spectators can expect to see national champions and former grand slam players. One might even see a future national champion in the making.
Tournament directors have made a concerted effort to attract youth to the event. The Classic will feature some young prodigies who are ultra competitive and will be showcasing their talents. As a result, there are many parent-child teams playing for the first time.
Spectators can watch for free. Bring your lawn chair and settle in for three days of tennis entertainment. Matches begin at 7:45 a.m. each morning, starting Friday. Food and beverages will be available on site.
A new division – the super century – has been added to the tournament. For this division the total combined ages of the team must equal 120 years.
“Unfortunately, the century division has passed many of us by, so we had to create this new division,” said Hersh Hershman.
The super century class should provide entertaining results. Butch Stillman, a former resident now residing in Temecula will team with long-standing doubles partner Hersh Herschman to form the top seed.
“Butch has always exhibited cagey anticipation in his shot-making and because of that skill we will be tough to beat,” Hersh Herschman said.
The second seed belongs to La Quinta Bill Cover and Temecula’s Barry Eckenroth. Cover is a wily veteran who has been a finalist in the national men’s 60s tournament. Eckenroth has a menacing serve and creative shot-making abilities. Ralph Hesterman of San Dimas and Palm Desert’s Dick Ginn will bring their formidable serve and volley game for the first time and are seeded third. North Shore’s John Manter and Jimmy Giancolla will bring their wicked kick and slice serves and are seeded forth.
The top seeds in the century division – Rich Taylor of Aptos and K.C. Jackson of Monterey – will shoot for a three-peat. Both exhibit pinpoint control and effortless power. They are fresh off a win in the California state tournament.
The duo will be hard pressed by La Quinta’s Mark Peterson and Palm Desert’s Randy Houston. Peterson won the national men’s 50s tournament last year and continues to win nearly every tournament he enters.
“Houston’s big lefty serve will put holes in you if you don’t pay attention,” Hersh Herschman said.
Reno’s Dave Lee, a former professional basketball player, will bring his howitzer of a serve and San Diego’s Mike LaCaze will bring his blistering groundstrokes and punishing serve. They are seeded fourth.
The locals’ choices are Ed “Griz” Daley and Kirby Moulton. Both players are seasoned veterans.
As is the case every year, tournament directors had trouble seeding the men’s B division. As many as 16 of 20 teams could prevail.
Pete Cranston of Las Vegas always does well in the national tournaments and he will pair up with Florida and part-time Tahoe resident Tim Roslansky to garner the top seed. Roslansky has a twisting lefty serve and is a brilliant ball striker.
Seeded second are Monterey’s Glen Froistad and George Savala. Both have penetrating groundies and textbook volleys.
Nathan Garofalos will team with his coach Dave Alexander and are seeded third.
“I had the pleasure of hitting with Nathan recently and he showed talented firepower and creative shot-making abilities,” said Hersh Herschman.
Washington D.C. and Michigan sends the father-son team of Brad and Justin Schiller. Brad has a devastating serve and unconventional yet dependable groundstrokes. Justin may very well be the best player in the Men’s B event, according to Hersh Herschman.
Former local teaching pro Tom Barnes will combine with local Janice Levesque to defend their top-seeded ranking in the mixed B class. Levesque exhibits effortless power and pinpoint efficiency in her game. Gardnerville’s Bob and Jodie Koerner are seeded second. Bob has a thunderous serve and forehand that complements Jodie’s deft touch.
Seeded third are San Diego’s Dick Fowler and Becky Smiser, longtime Classic participants who will again showcase their amazing shotmaking prowess and powerful baseline game.
Local ninth-grader Jimmy Roberts will form a partnership with his mom, Lori, and are the fourth seed. Jimmy has explosive power off of both sides and uses his natural athletic ability to great advantage. Lori is one of the top female players at the lake and is returning to the Classic after a lengthy absence.
Locals Ray Fugitt and Tricia Ward will be worthy dark horse contenders. They both have the uncanny ability to use the court like a chessboard and make their opponents miss a lot of shots.
The ladies division will feature top-seeded Nancy Froistad and Stephanie Lichteneggaer of Monterey. Froistad has lightening-quick court coverage and Lichteneggaer is known for her explosive serve and as a scrappy hard-court player with great mobility.
South Shore’s Kathy Wharton and Beth Cohen of North Shore are the third seed. Wharton has a monster serve to go with her explosive groundstrokes.
Former ladies champion Linda Hixenbaugh of South Lake Tahoe brings her fighting spirit to the court and will team with local Sally Huttenmeyer, who is known for her groundstrokes.
The mixed A class features Ryan Johnston, who some say is the best tennis player on the South Shore. He will team with the explosive Vanessa Smaine to garner the top-seeded spot.
Former satellite player and local teaching pro Justin Clark will pair up with Wharton to form the second seed. Monterey’s Fabela and Allison Mitchell are seeded third and Monterey’s Mike Zurry and Nancy Froistad are seeded fourth.
“The Men’s A division is the most watched and most highly anticipated of all divisions,” according to Hersh Herschman. “The big bangers will have the toughest competitors and most evenly matched teams in the history of the Classic.”
Former champion Rob Medeiros of Reno will team with Chris DeGraff of Carson City and are seeded No. 1. Medeiros is a stylish attacking player who plays with passion and will complement DeGraff’s slice serve well.
Mark Peterson, who has potent volleys and baseline-bashing groundstrokes, will team with his Century partner Randy Houston and are seeded No. 2. Former touring pros Andy Webb of Placerville and Scott Borowiak of Stockton are seeded third. Rich Taylor of Aptos and K.C. Jackson of Monterey, the champions the past two years in the century division, could make history this year by winning the men’s A and century divisions.
Finals matches are at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
If you go
What: Tahoe Classic tennis tournament
When: Friday through
Sunday, starting at 7:45 a.m. each day
Where: Zephyr Cove complex
Finals: 10 a.m., noon and 2 pm. Sunday
Admission: Free (food and beverages available).
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