Local tennis players earn second place at national tournament
On November 1-3, a team of four local tennis players ventured west to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California to participate in the 2013 World Team Tennis National Championships.
The team qualified for the national tourney by virtue of its local league championship and its fine play in the region’s national qualifying tournament held early in October.
Ariff Sumar (captain) of Denver, Amanda Caporaletti of Lititz, Barry Christ of Ephrata, and Kristin Schlageter of Lancaster, who range in age from 44 to 61, overcame travel fatigue, physical injuries and opponents all in their 20s to finish second in their respective division of this year’s National Championship Tournament.
Traveling west all day on Thursday, as well as into the early hours of Friday, the team known as the "Sumar Smash," played their first match at 8 a.m. Friday and defeated a fine, young local squad from Irvine, California, 27-26 in a super tie-break. However, on the next to last point of the match, Kristin injured her foot, and Amanda played out the last point with Ariff to win the match (The World Team Tennis format allows for substitutions during team play).
With Kristin hobbled and no extra players, she continued to play with her teammates in the next match scheduled at noon. However, the team from Puerto Rico, representing Florida and the Caribbean region prevailed over the Smash, 36-18.
Seeking medical attention after the second match, Kristin was given crutches and a prescription for "rest." However, this brave lady continued to support her teammates, continued to play, and help her team enjoy the tournament. While "crutching" around the complex on Saturday, she became a sentimental favorite from other tennis players, while her teammates continued to lift their game in her support.
Saturday brought the last two matches in the tourney as the "Smash" was victorious over the New Jersey (30-26) and Missouri (34-21) teams to end with a 3-1 record and garner the second place trophy. Puerto Rico was the champion at 4-0. The members of the "Sumar Smash" have affectionately renamed themselves the "Orange Crutch."
All four USTA players are members of the Hempfield Rec where the majority of their team play takes place, as well as many other venues in the Central Penn District of the Middle States Tennis Association.
World Team Tennis plays a format of two same sex doubles, two same sex singles, then finishes with two matches of mixed doubles; with all game scores added together for an exciting team finish.