NCTA event beats weather, gets rave reviews
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 15, 2013 1:49 PM
But not to Mother Nature.
The Goldsboro Tennis Association gets the win, instead.
Armed with blowers and squeegees, volunteers and workers with the Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department each morning drying hard and clay courts for the 2013 North Carolina Singles League State Championships. The group refused to let intermittent rain and mist spoil the biggest sporting event hosted by the city in at least three decades.
"We never doubted we would get it done," said Sherry Strickland, tournament coordinator. "None of the rain that was happening wasn't showing up on the radar. It was hard to know what kind of delay to expect, so it was definitely a challenge with the weather.
"Our Parks and Rec staff is fabulous (and) stepped up in a big way. They got the courts dry and when it rained again, they went out there and did it again with a smile."
Mother Nature wasn't the only obstacle, however.
The GTA employed its back-up plan when Herman Park became unavailable for play. The loss of 10 courts could have been disastrous, but administrations from Southern Wayne and Wayne Community College had agreed ahead of time for those facilities to be used as practice courts.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) requires 48 courts, including 18 clay, to host a tournament. Strickland acquired every facility in Wayne and Greene counties to meet the USTA's requirement.
Strickland said rain forced minor delays. Teams at different age levels from 14 regions in North Carolina played deep into the night on Friday and Saturday. More than 200 matches were contested and champions were crowned in 14 divisions, led by the Piedmont Region with four state-title winners.
The Coastal and Capital regions had three state champions apiece. The South East and Coast regions each had one state champ.
Strickland never heard a discouraging word from a single player during the three-day tournament. In fact, everyone seemed pleased with the city's effort.
"The feedback was that they love Goldsboro and were just overwhelmed by the support they received," Strickland said. "Our hospitality was great and the people really enjoyed their experience in Goldsboro, so we know we did that right. They all hope they win their leagues so they can come back next year."
The GTA will compare notes with the Parks and Rec Dept. and the county's Travel and Tourism bureau within the next couple of weeks. Strickland said a better contingency plan needs to be put in place for weather-related issues. She also plans to reserve more courts.
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