By Noreen Javadi, special to USTA.com
RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. – Beautiful desert weather marked a memorable weekend for the Intermountain Section women’s team and the Eastern Section men’s team as they overcame a challenging field to win the USTA League Adult 18 & Over 4.5 National Championships at the Rancho Las Palmas Country Club.
The Eastern men’s team, based at the Fairfield Racquet Club in Fairfield, N.J., began the day with a 4-1 victory over Southwest Section team from Phoenix.
Later in the day, the Eastern men faced off in the 4.5 championship match against the Southern California Section team from El Monte, Calif., which had advanced to the final with a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Mid-Atlantic Section team from Washington, D.C.
In a thrilling performance, the Eastern defeated the Southern California Section, 3-2, to capture the USTA National 4.5 title.
“We feel amazing. We did not expect this. It was a total team effort,” said Eastern team captain Ray Kaplan. “We’ve been trying to do this for 12 years and everything fell into place. We got the right match ups – we got everything right. So it’s just unbelievable! It’s amazing to come to Nationals and play in California – it’s beautiful.”
In the women’s title match, Intermountain Section, which plays at the Colorado Athletic Club Monaco in Denver, triumphed over the Southern Section team from Hattiesburg, Miss., 3-2, to win the 4.5 National Championship.
“We’ve had a great time, everything’s been really great,” said Intermountain team captain Katherine Nicolson. “I’m really excited. I’m still really in shock. We are a very close team and have an awesome sisterhood. One of our doubles players Mary Moses actually played with a cast on her arm the whole tournament and she killed it for us!”
Earlier in the day, Intermountain Section defeated the Northern Section women from Minneapolis, 3-2, in a semifinal encounter. The Southern Section women’s team advanced to the final after scoring a 4-1 semifinal victory over the Caribbean Section team from Mayaguez, P.R.