2013 USTA Arkansas Award Winners
The Herschel Friday Outstanding Junior Award
Dylan DeLuca – Bentonville
Dylan has been playing USTA tennis since he was 10 years old. He has been ranked in the top 150 in the South in the 12's, 14's, and 16's age divisions. As a part of the Bentonville High School tennis team, he has won the 7A State Championship four years in a row, including an individual 1st place win his senior year. Dylan would like to thank Jared and Christy Ward, Paul Pautsch, Drew Sosebee, and, of course, his parents for encouraging him throughout his junior career.
Katelyn Jackson – Roland
I started playing tennis when I was eight years old. With the guidance of Thomas Andersson and a lot of hard work, my game steadily improved. Two years ago, I moved to South Carolina to train full-time at the Smith Stearns Tennis Academy. Although this was a difficult decision for my family and me, it allowed me to take my tennis to the next level. Highlights for me during the past two years include helping the Southern section win the World Team Tennis competition, winning the 2012 Southern Fall Championship, and reaching the Southern section G18's #1 ranking in June 2013. I achieved 5-star recognition and a ranking of 44 in Tennis Recruiting Network 2014 National recruiting class. I received the Stan Smith Award, the highest honor given to a junior player at Smith Stearns. My dream to play for a highly ranked D1 Women's collegiate team was realized when I accepted a full scholarship to play for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The Lady Raiders won the Big 12 Championship and ranked 18th Nationally in 2013.
It is truly an honor to receive the Herschel Friday Outstanding Junior Award. I would like to thank the Arkansas Tennis Association for recognizing the hard work and dedication of our junior players. I would also like to recognize and thank my coaches for their guidance. Finally, I would like to thank my family for their never-ending love and support.
The Jay Freeman Most Improved Player Award
Ryan Rouse - Jonesboro
Ryan Rouse is a fifth-grader at International Studies in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Ryan became interested in tennis when he saw his older brother, Eli, enjoy it so much. He promptly won the first Novice 10s tournament he signed up for and was officially bitten by the tennis bug. Ryan continued to compete whenever his brother did – and within his first year of playing – he was cracking the top 10 of the USTA Southern section in his age division. What has made Ryan’s young tennis career so interesting is that his accomplishments have been achieved with no regular private instruction. Ryan’s proudest tennis moment was winning 2nd place in doubles in the 2013 Southern Section Closed with his friend, Walker. In addition to tennis, Ryan loves to play basketball for his school and baseball with the Razors. In his free time Ryan also loves to play X-box and be outside with friends in the neighborhood.
Ryan would like to thank his parents for encouraging him in all he does and for taking him to tennis and baseball tournaments these last few years. Ryan also sends thanks to the coaches at the Jonesboro Country Club – Byron Cato, Gary Jones and Chandler Harris -- for all their help and support.
Dr. Ted Bailey Sportsmanship Award
Evelyn Maurras – Jonesboro
Evelyn started playing tennis at age six. As a ten year old, she won the Arkansas Qualifying and attended the Southern Closed in Memphis, where she finished fourth. She was rated 6th in the Southern section as she aged out of the tens. As a twelve year old, she finished fourth at the Arkansas Qualifying, and attended the Southern Closed in Cary, NC. Highlights for that year included 2nd place finishes at the Polar Bear in Little Rock and the Red River Shootout in Shreveport, as well as winning the Pleasant Valley Junior Classic in Little Rock. Evelyn has also enjoyed playing Jr. Team Tennis since she was 7 years old. She was on the sectional champion 10’s team in 2011 in Mobile, AL, where she was given her age group’s sportsmanship award.
She credits her coaches at the Jonesboro Country Club, Gary Jones and Chandler Harris, with making tennis fun and helping her develop her game. She is also grateful to her family for supporting her, and giving her the opportunity to play tennis.
Bette Mooty Scholarship
Grady McCain- Greenwood
Hello, my name is Grady McCain, 18, and I am a senior at Greenwood High School. My mother first introduced me to tennis at a young age, but I really got into it at the age of nine. However, I was never a competitive player until the age of twelve. Tennis seemed to come easy to me, and I picked up the sport rather quickly. I remember that when I would get home from school I would get on the computer and watch highlights of my favorite player, Roger Federer. Then when I was on the court I would try all the cool shots he did (but never a tweener). I have won numerous tournaments on the junior level, but also I have had great success in high school. I have made three state finals in a row and four Conference finals, winning two Conference titles. I plan on attending college and playing tennis at the collegiate level. I hope to have much success academically and athletically.
Margie O' Brien Scholarship
Branch Terrell- Little Rock
Branch has been playing tennis since the age of eight. He has been ranked as high as #1 in Arkansas and #12 in the South. After competing for so many years he has recently accomplished a long time goal, receiving a scholarship to play D-1 tennis at the University of Arkansas. Tennis is very much a large part of Branch's life, but his relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important part of his life. He is very active off the court, serving regularly in various parts of the community. Branch is very thankful for his long time coach Raul Bermudez, the Mintons, his family, and the ATA for all the time they have invested contributing to the development of Arkansas juniors such as Branch.
Victor Sheshunoff Meritorious Education Award
Chris Cash– Fayetteville
It is a humbling experience to receive the Victor Sheshunoff Meritorious Education Award. I’d like to thank the little people. By that, I mean the kids that play in our program. The NWA area is full of players that keep me excited about teaching. Thank you to all our athletes and their families that allow me to do something I love.
There is no way our program could thrive without Whitney Ewersmann, Brittany Murphy, Chris Stuart and the staff at the ATA. Their help and involvement in Jr. Team Tennis gives players an experience that keeps them excited about the game. We look forward to expanding JTT to the public in Fayetteville and Springdale.
Thank you to our assistant coaches Andrew Atkinson and Erica Rogers for their dedication and believing in what we are doing at Fayetteville Tennis. Finally, I would like to thank the Professional Tennis Registry for giving me the tools and educational resources to keep improving. Thank you for this honor and it serves as yet another reminder of why I love going to work every single day and for that, I am eternally grateful.
Arkansas Tennis Professional of the Year
Pablo Esner – Hot Springs
Pablo is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been with the Hot Springs Country Club since January 2008. This is Pablo's first job in the United States. Pablo has played tennis all of his life and started coaching tennis at age 22. He has taught tennis all over the world including top 10 players. We are very lucky here at HSCC to have such a respectable, dedicated tennis coach!!! His love for the game of tennis shines through in everything he does on and off the courts.
Patrick M. Riley Umpire of the Year
Jason Lyon - Conway
Jason has been officiating for 6 years. He has officiated the following tournaments:
Southern 18 Closed
Boys 12's National Championships (Chaired Finals 2013)
USTA National 14 Regional (Chaired Finals 2011-2013)
Girls 18's Clay National Championships
Hilton Head National Chair Academy Participant 2013
SEC Matches Ole Miss and Arkansas (Top 25 Teams)
Chaired match between #11 and #13 ITA Ranked Players
CUSA Championships 2012-13
SCAC Championships 2009-2011
2012/2013 NCAA Championships Rd 1 & Rd 2
UCA/UALR/Ozark Dual Matches
Arkansas Tennis Family of the Year
The David and Carrie Moore Family – Fort Smith
In 2002, our son Andrew saw a sign which advertised a beginner tennis program and asked to try tennis. What we didn’t know was that this request would develop into a family sport.
Andrew went on to play for Greenwood High School and was a semi-finalist in the 5A State Tournament in 2010, 5A West District champion in 2011, and a finalist in the 5A State Tournament in 2011. Andrew was named All District and All State in 2010 and 2011. He now plays club tennis at the University of Oklahoma where he is studying Meteorology.
Thomas recently completed his junior year playing for Greenwood High School and was a finalist in the 6A West District Tournament in 2012 and a semi-finalist in the 6A State Tournament in 2012 and 2013. He was named All District and All State in 2012 and 2013. Thomas was also a member of the 2013 18 Under Intermediate Jr. Team Tennis State Championship Team.
Carrie gave herself lessons as a birthday gift and quickly became addicted to the game. She has captained adult teams and recently co-captained the 2013 AR 18 Under Intermediate Jr. Team Tennis State Champions. In 2009, Carrie began and continues to coordinate the Greenwood Women’s Tennis Program. She is a board member of the Western Arkansas Tennis Association. In 2012, she became a local league coordinator and in 2013 became certified as an USTA umpire.
Since someone has to pay for all of this tennis, David was late in starting competitive tennis. Although he had played for fun, he did not begin playing organized tennis until 2010. Since then, David plays team tennis and in many area tournaments. He also helps with the Oh WATA Night fundraiser each year.
Member Organization of the Year
NEATA - Jonesboro
The Northeast Arkansas Tennis Association was founded in 1977. The purpose of the organization is to promote the sport of tennis in Jonesboro and neighbouring communities. The NEATA plays a very important part in tennis growth:
· Sponsors all sanctioned events
· Runs two adult sanctioned tournaments and Level 3 AR/ 4 STA Jr Events
· Organizes two charity events benefiting "The Great Gift Exchange"
· Holds spring and fall Jr. Team Tennis
· Pays Jr. Team Tennis Fall participants fees
· Sponsors Adult League Teams representing NEATA at sectional events
· Prizes to all USTA Arkansas Award Winners
· Coordinates Diversity Outreach Programs & Play Days while supplying tennis professionals with equipment and fees
· Hosted two 10 & Under workshops in 2013
· Provides balls to sanctioned QuickStart events
New in 2014:
· NEATA Logo contest for juniors
· Adult new players or players that have not played in 3 years will get their USTA membership refunded by NEATA if they play USTA League Team Tennis
· NEATA, Jonesboro Parks & The local school districts have partnered to start an after school program
Barbara Brewer Community Service Award
Delores (Dee) Cox – Van Buren
Thank you to the teachers and kids in the Van Buren Public schools who nominated me for this award. I have had the privilege of visiting all six grade schools and the two junior highs in Van Buren for the past six years. I teach tennis in the PE classes for one week at a time at each school. I also teach clinics and private lessons to children whose parents are less fortunate or have lost their jobs. I volunteer for the high school and junior high tennis team as well.
In 1997, I was featured in Southern Living magazine in an article focusing on people in the parks who make a difference. I have also served on the board at USTA Tennessee and was awarded Tennessee Tennis Professional of the Year in 2000. In 2007 I was the recipient of the USTA Arkansas Victor Sheshunoff Award. Tennis has been so good to me. I feel like I have to give back to the game and allow kids to learn to love it as much as I do. Also, the more kids I teach, fewer children are on the streets getting into trouble.
Adult Tournament of the Year
WATA Team Tennis Championship- Fort Smith
We are so honored to accept this award. The WATA Team Tennis Championships- Raising Awareness for Ovarian Cancer tournament was definitely a labor of love. The cause is one that touches many of us and the team tennis format only seemed fitting. Each team consisted of two doubles teams and one singles player, competing in a round robin format. Teams could switch around line-ups and sub in players, just as they can in a regular team tennis format. While each draw had a champion, the real winner here was the cause. This disease, known as the silent killer, affects thousands of women, and many are not aware that they have it until it is too late. With events like these, hopefully we can break the silence. This one’s for you, Jane.
Junior Tournament of the Year
The 2013 Arkansas Jr. State Qualifier- Little Rock
The 2013 Arkansas Junior State Qualifying was hosted by the Arkansas Tennis Association and the Arkansas Junior Tennis Council. It was held over Memorial Day weekend at the Burns Park Tennis Center in North Little Rock with two hundred fifty two of the state’s junior players participating in the event.
A big thank you goes out to the many, many people who helped to pull this event together and to those who helped once the tournament was underway. We would like to extend a special thank you to the tournament sponsors:
Velocity Care Urgent Treatment Center---Gold Sponsor
Dale Capital Partners---Silver Sponsor
Arkansas Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgery---Bronze Sponsor
The Tennis Shoppe---Bronze Sponsor
The Arkansas Tennis Association would like to express our appreciation to the Arkansas Junior Tennis Council for, not only their many efforts in helping to make the Qualifier a success, but for all they have done to help improve junior tennis in Arkansas. They are an awesome group of volunteers!
Special Tennis Event of the Year
"Keep the Ball in Motion, Rally and Give Back- Rogers
“Keep the Ball in Motion, Rally and Give Back” Tennis Relay is a national, one-day, tennis fundraising event for Genomic Cancer Research.
After seeing a morning show segment on genome research with Dr. Lukas Wartman, a cancer patient, and Dr. Rick Wilson of the Genome Institute of the Washington University, St. Louis School of Medicine and the work being done to isolate and treat genes that cause cancer I decided to become involved. My love of tennis spawned the “Keep the Ball in Motion – Rally and Give Back” a Tennis Relay Event. I began contacting tennis clubs and coaches around the country to participate in this event, in hopes of making a big impact with a simple idea. I was 15 then, a sophomore at Farmington High School and made the decision to get involved in the fight against cancer. Now I am 16 and more determined than ever.
The “First Annual Event” was in February 2013 and coaches from Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Wisconsin participated. The "Second Annual Event" is scheduled for February 8th, 2014 with coaches from Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, California, New York and more participating.
FORMAT: Multiple players per hour aimed at continuous back and forth play for 12 hours. Players encouraged to sign up in teams – it is a relay and more information is available on the website at www.tennisrelay,org. PLAYER ENTRY DONATION: $10 (Tax Deductible) AGE: All ages, all skill levels! PROCEEDS: 100% of all proceeds go to Genomic Cancer Research at the Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis (a 501c Corporation).
You do not need to be an accomplished tennis player to participate. As long as you can hold a racquet and hit a ball to the other side, we want you to participate! Imagine 72,000 people participating in this event on one day would raise $720,000.
For more information on the Keep the Ball in Motion - Rally and Give Back event, please visit www.tennisrelay.org or call Teah 479-444-9922.
2013 State Volunteer Service Award
Randy Curtis- Little Rock
It would be accurate to say that, while Randy Curtis may have first entered into his ATA volunteer experience due to some coaxing by his spouse, he is now an extremely willing and enthusiastic volunteer.
As his time permitted, Randy has always tried to help with the junior tournaments run by the ATA, but since his retirement, he has been all in! In 2013, Randy worked every junior tournament hosted by the ATA:
The Arkansas Junior State Qualifying
USTA National Boys & Girls 14s Open
USTA National Boys 12s Championship
He pitches in wherever his help is needed---from the pre-tournament work that most of us don’t even think about, to finishing up on the last day of the event, and everything in between. Randy is not only a very capable tournament worker, he does it with great enthusiasm. The cheer and positive attitude that he brings to these events are
contagious! He enjoys the players, he enjoys the parents---he enjoys every aspect of the tournament and he does his best to make sure it a great experience for everyone!
It is because of all of these things that we present Randy Curtis with the Volunteer of the Year Award.
2013 President's Award
Kim Magee- Little Rock
Kim first took interest in the amazing sport of tennis in 2001. Her husband, John, was her inspiration. “I watched my husband (on the sidelines) for about seven years. Then, just out of the blue, his mixed doubles partner's husband, Wes, and myself decided to take a lesson together. The rest is history...”
The second year Kim played USTA League team tennis she had already been appointed the captain. She was a natural from the start. The friendships that Kim has developed over the years have made captaining worthwhile. Since 2001, Kim has captained 106 teams. With a combination of Adult, Mixed Doubles, Tri-Level and Combo, Kim has advanced and traveled 15 times to a USTA Southern Sectional event.