10/10/13 — Goldsboro playing host to large weekend tennis tournament

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Goldsboro playing host to large weekend tennis tournament

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on October 10, 2013 1:49 PM


Rich in tennis heritage, Goldsboro finally gets the opportunity to host a showcase event for the first time in at least two-plus decades this weekend.

More than 80 teams comprised of at least 400 players from 14 regions will battle in the 2013 North Carolina Singles League State Championships, which get underway Friday morning in Wayne and Greene counties.

Seven multi-court venues will be used to determine state champions in 18 adult divisions. Semifinal- and championship-round play is scheduled for Sunday at an undetermined site.

"We're very excited," said Sherri Strickland, coordinator for the Neuse River League. "There will be some good tennis played at different levels."

Every two years, the N.C. Tennis Association (NCTA) solicits bids from towns to host state tournaments on different levels. Strickland and Michael Boothman, the head tennis professional at Walnut Creek Country Club, spearheaded the effort to get the multi-day tournament played in a town known for its tradition.

It turned into an enormous undertaking, of course.

Strickland and Boothman, who also jointly restarted the Goldsboro Tennis Association, filed a bid with the NCTA in May of 2012. The NCTA visited sites during the summer and awarded the bids around October of 2012.

"We have pulled a lot of folks from the community whom I have called upon to be site coordinators," said Strickland, who added Goldsboro will host the tournament again in 2014.

"It's been rewarding to see everyone pull together. (There has) been good support ... many people willing to step up and volunteer."

R.A. Jeffreys will sponsor the players' party. Mount Olive Pickle and Chick-fil-A have agreed to support the tournament. Strickland said that many restaurants will appear on a guide and will offer the players either a discount or some type of promotional item.

But the real task involved securing courts.

Many facilities in Wayne County need major facelifts, including resurfacing the courts and replacing lights at Herman Park. Workers have toiled around the clock to have the town's main venue ready for play Friday morning.

Goldsboro Country Club, Walnut Creek, Greene Ridge Racquet Club in Snow Hill and Mount Olive College will host numerous matches. Players will also compete at Eastern Wayne and Greene Central high schools.

"I don't think we've ever had anything this big," Boothman said. "It's big enough for us to do so the NCTA will see how we handle it. It will also give us experiencing learning how to run a big tournament. When people see how good this can be for Goldsboro, maybe we can get more courts repaired and resurfaced so they will look sharp.

"We're using all of the courts we can."

The USTA requires 48 total courts and at least 18 must be clay. The younger players will compete on the hard courts, while the older adults will duel on the soft courts.

Each team will play three singles matches in a best-of-three set format. Should the teams split sets, they will play a 10-point super tiebreaker to determine the winner. Round-robin bracket play begins Friday and will continue throughout Saturday in each division.

Proceeds will help fund next year's state tournament and programs generated through the GTA.

"The money we raise will help create youth tennis programs and after-school programs, and help revitalize some of these parks and I think that will have a lasting effect on our community," Strickland said.

And add some more history to a tennis town.