Tahoe Tennis Classic brings out national competition; doubles tournament starts Thursday
Tahoe Tennis Classic
Thursday-Sunday at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club
More info: http://www.zctennis.com
ZEPHYR COVE — More than 170 competitors from throughout the United States will descend upon the South Shore in an attempt to defend their titles or dethrone previous champions in the 32nd-annual Tahoe Tennis Classic. This year marks the first that the tournament will be staged over four days, from July 30 to Aug. 2.
The tournament held at Zephyr Cove Tennis Club begins Thursday at 7:45 a.m. with 11 divisions of doubles. Bring a lawn chair or sit in the new bleachers to watch the most competitive tennis on the South Shore — food and beverages will be sold for a nominal fee.
The most balanced event at the classic will be the Men’s Century, which requires the combined ages of the team add up to at least 100 years. Mark Peterson and Randy Houston are the top seed. South Lake Tahoe’s Ryan Johnston and Tad Yukawa of Palm Desert, Calif. will team together to defend Johnston’s title from last year.
Perhaps the best team in this division is the St. Louis duo of Dick Johnson — recently named to the National 70 team — and Terry Ward. Locals Zeke Straw — director of tennis at Northstar — and Chris Beye will be a factor.
The Mixed B division has Stateline’s Ray Fugitt and Tricia Ward as the top seed. The Zephyr Cove mother-son team of Holly and Mitch Rittiman are another strong team.
Fugitt will also team with Darryl Whittaker, who splits his time between Park City, Utah, and Lake Tahoe, in the Men’s B as a top seed. Reno’s Dennis Diehl and Jim Kumpel will also contend for that title.
The Mixed C division will field several competitive teams. Past champions Judy and Marc Spellman, who are from Florida but spend their summers on the South Shore, are back. Zephyr Cove Tennis Club Foundation President Carolyn Wright and her partner R.J. Gardner fill the top seed — they won the event in 2013.
Ernie’s Coffee Shop owner Paul Bruso and his partner from Carson City, Carel James, will be a formidable opponent. Pinewild’s Melissa Jester and Reno resident Heck Meta, along with Grant Thompson and Lorraine Segala of the South Shore, will also play Mixed C.
Some of the most competitive play will come in the Men’s A division. Tahoe Donner Tennis Club tennis director Ian Mindell returns with Johnston, while Reno’s Kevin Strawn and Tony Matkulak are the top seed.
Partnered with Julie Chan, Sacramento’s Nancy Bui-Thompson will celebrate her birthday by playing in the Women’s A division. Defending champs and the mother-daughter team of Carol and Holly Tretten will again be the favorites in this division.
The Mixed A division will feature Kim Iliffe of Mill Valley, Calif. with Ty Yarbrough of Texas. Iliffe’s partner last year, Blake Beavers, also from Texas, is partnering with Reno’s Holly Tretten. Andrew and Ann Stanley return after a long absence to try to dominate the Mixed A. ZCTC member John Wlcek teams with Sacramento’s Cynthia Reddick as a pair of likely title contenders.
In the Women’s B division, South Shore’s Joyce Youngs and Reno’s Carol Tretten are the top seed. The tandem of local Sally Huttenmayer and Becky Smothermon from San Jose, Calif. will be competitive. Denise Hallerbach from Reno will team with newcomer and Las Vegas resident, Laurie Sabol.
The Women’s C division could be interesting. Former champion Wright and last year’s consolation round winner Becky LeBuhn are the top seed. They will be hard pressed by Sheryl Herschman and James. Melissa Jester and Judy Spellman will be a strong factor.
The Men’s C will be competitive with returning champions, Bart Tretheway from Chicago and his brother, Ray Tretheway, from Sacramento. Last year’s consolation round winners Heck Mata and Frank Blankenship are anticipated to give the Tretheways a good fight. Long-time participant Rich Brown and partner Bill Gephart, both from Vallejo, also merit strong attention in this division.
There also is the spirited Super Century event, in which the combined ages of the team must equal a minimum of 130 years. Founder of the Tahoe Classic, Hersh Herschman, will pair with Tournament Director Bob Beutenmiller to vie for the No. 1 spot this year. David Lee of Rancho Mirage, Calif. will team with Johnson. Jim Bilicki of Rancho Mirage will partner with Ron Moore of Seal Beach, Calif., who was a semi-finalist in the Super Century division last year. Bob Valdez and Lee Ruch represent the Reno-Carson area and are long-time classic participants.
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“Let Them Play,” rallies are taking place across California with a mission to bring back high school and youth sports.