published Monday, September 9th, 2013

Chattanooga team wins state tennis title

A Chattanooga team pulled out a dramatic championship in the 55-over 8.0 division of the USTA mixed doubles state team tournament Sunday morning on the Baylor School courts.

Becca Simpson and Andy Miller won 11-9 in a third-set tiebreaker to give the team captained by Shana Patten a 2-1 victory over Nashville and the Tennessee title after those teams and one from the Tri-Cities area tied for first in round-robin play.

Chattanooga had one more individual win than the Mountain East Tennessee group, Patten said. Each went 4-1 in team play, but her players won all three courts in their head-to-head matchup.

Memphis, Knoxville and Murfreesboro also had teams in the division. The three-day tournament included 700 players in multiple ranking combinations in 18-, 40, 55- and 65-over age groups at Baylor, the Champions Club and the Racquet Club. This was the second year in a row Chattanooga hosted the event, and it was bigger this time, according to Tiffan Davis Gillespie, the state association's adult leagues director and marketing boss.

The 8.0 division paired either two players with 4.0 rankings or a 4.5 player with a 3.5.

Boo Mullinex (4.5) and Keith Michaels were undefeated in the tournament for Patten's team, which will play in a Southern Sectional invitational Oct. 24-27 in Little Rock, Ark.

"But it took everybody for us to win the championship," the captain said.

Besides herself, her other players were Scott Raines, Kim Conner, Beverly Geismer, Dave Dameron and Barry Brooks. Dameron and Patten have been together the longest of the group, going back to an Eastern Nationals win in Puerto Rico in 2006.

"In 2011 I captained a team to San Antonio to the nationals," Patten noted. "We have many new faces but still the same heart to be active, play tennis and compete at the highest level in our age group and ranking."

She said the tournament was splendidly run and "very nice."

Gillespie praised the cooperation she received from Tim Morgan and the Sports Committee as well as from the Chattanooga Tennis Association.

"The CTA provided volunteers throughout the week. We couldn't have done this without their great efforts," she said.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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