Living up to its name, the Fourth Annual Hood County News Tennis Festival was another smashing success over the past weekend.
The event raised around $6,000, according to tournament director and creator Gonzalo Nunez. Among the proceeds is a scholarship fund for graduating seniors on the Granbury High tennis team.
“It’s just fun, good fun,” said Nunez. “There’s always some really good tennis, but there’s more just getting together with friends and enjoying the weekend.”
A GOOD START
The event began with the annual Meet-And-Greet Thursday at Pecan Plantation. Among the highlights of that evening was the second annual exhibition match between Nunez and Granbury High tennis coach Jeff Bramlett, also coordinator of the tournament’s Junior Division.
This year featured a mixed doubles match, with Bramlett teaming up with his daughter Kate and Nunez pairing with Slovanian tennis standout Janine Koleta, visiting his family for a few weeks.
Last year in a doubles match, Nunez and his partner overcame an early deficit after a lengthy delay due to the lights going out. This year, there was no delay, but Nunez and Koleta still rallied, nonetheless, for an 8-6 victory, winning four of the final five games.
“Nobody turn off the lights,” Nunez joked during one of the match’s breaks.
Coach Bramlett and Nunez admitted their strategy was to serve the ball when it was their turn, stay back and let the girls do all the work. Still, coach Bramlett had arguably the shot of the match.
He rushed to the ball, fell to his knees and barely made contact, but just enough to get the ball over the net for a point.
“I didn’t know I could still do that,” he said, pointing to his scratched knee and adding with a laugh, “Now I can’t anymore.”
Bramlett then began contemplating thoughts for a way to defeat Nunez at next year’s festival.
“I’m thinking maybe we play American football, or baseball,” he said.
To which Nunez responded, “Next year, we’ll just let the kids play.”
YOUTH TOOK CENTER COURT
Nunez started the HCN Tennis Festival to benefit the youth and through them grow the sport in Hood County. Therefore, he was extremely pleased with what he saw this weekend.
Several youngsters not only played well, but did so against older players — in some cases much older.
The youngest winner was 8-year-old Alana Rhodes, who took the title in Girls 12-Under Singles.
“I try to figure out their weakness and use it against them,” said Rhodes about playing older players. “I just love to play, no matter who it’s against.”
Beau Pritchard, 13, won in two older divisions. He captured the title in Boys 15-Under Singles and teamed with 10-year-old Lucas Nunez to take first place in Boys 15-Under Doubles.
Pritchard defeated four high school players en route to the singles championship. He and Nunez defeated two high school duos to claim the doubles crown.
“I don’t have anything to lose. I just play better against older kids,” said Pritchard.
The Pritchard family did very well in the tournament. Along with Beau’s triumphs, Paige teamed with Cherokee Jackson to win Girls 15-Under Doubles, reached the finals in Girls 15-Under Singles, and Caleb Pritchard reached the finals in Boys 12-Under Singles.
“The young ones did more than hold their own in this tournament,” said Gonzalo Nunez. “This is the fruit of all the work we are doing.
“When we see something like this, it motivates us to keep this festival going and to make it even bigger.
“We’re going to have a state champion from Granbury before we’re done.”
The oldest player in the tournament? It was 72-year-old Suzanne Walshe-Cooley, who filled in for a friend who had to drop out.
SCHOLARSHIPS AND MORE
Not only does the HCN Tennis Festival provide scholarships for GHS players, it also allows the Pirate Tennis Booster Club a chance to showcase itself during the weekend.
Bob Mueller, president of the Pirate Tennis Booster Club, said many people stopped by the club’s booth. Several even signed up to join the club.
And, in his words, there can never be too many people to help promote tennis at GHS or anywhere.
“The (GISD) does a good job of supporting the team financially, but there are a lot of areas their budget doesn’t cover,” he said.
Mueller said from coolers on the court, complete with cups, for water during practices and matches to even helping with the occasional racquet, the booster club is always there to help.
“We probably spend at least $5,000 a year supplementing things for the team,” he said.
“It’s good we have something like this (the festival) to put ourselves out in front of people. And our players are out here also, so people can see what kind of talent we are supporting.”
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
Something new was added to the festival this year, a Battle of the Sexes.
The match wrapped up the tournament. It featured Granbury High boys players Peter Mueller and Joel Rodgers against GHS girls player GHS girls standout Kate Bramlett and WTA junior player Janine Koleta.
The guys won, 6-3, 6-4, prompting Jeff Bramlett, who coached the girls, to still ponder how he might defeat Gonzalo Nunez, who coached the boys.
“I will figure out a way, I will,” said coach Bramlett, laughing, and adding, “But that’s the best I’ve ever seen Peter and Joel play. That bodes well for our (GHS) team next season.
“Next year this is the exhibition match. Gonzo and I can just sit and watch.”
Added one spectator, “That’s the best tennis I saw all weekend.”
Nunez said, like the Thursday night opening-round exhibition, he expects the Battle of the Sexes to also be an annual event.
“This festival keeps evolving, and this is just another part of that,” he said. “We’re always looking for new ways to expand.”
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MEN’S 6.0 DOUBLES
Gus Quiroga/Serge Cormier defeated Larry Rupp/Wayne Pidgeon, 6-2, 6-2.
MEN’S 7.0 DOUBLES
Gus Quiroga/Serge Cormier defeated Larry Rupp/Wayne Pidgeon, 6-1, 6-2.
K.C. Scott/Roger Enlow defeated Glenn Baxter/Keith Hausenfluke, 6-3, 6-0.
Vic Schoepf/Mike Williamson bye.
Bill Lanus/Dave Davis bye.
Schoepf/Williamson defeated Quiroga/Cormier, 6-2, 6-1.
Scott/Enlow defeated Lanus/Davis, 6-0, 6-4.
Schoepf/Williamson defeated Scott/Enlow, 6-2, 6-2.
WOMEN’S 7.0 DOUBLES
Rhonda Naylor/Gala Pryor defeated Tal Hogue/Jill Jordan, 6-1, 6-4.
Karen Golba/Susan May defeated Carrie Rhodes/Maryanne Babbe, 6-1, 6-3.
Naylor/Pryor defeated Golba/May, 6-3, 6-2.
MIXED 8.0 DOUBLES
Karen Golba/Mark Golba bye.
Brandy Curry/Colby Freehaul defeated Mark Finkelstein/Carrie Rhodes, 4-6, 6-4, 10-8.
Golba/Golba defeated Curry/Freehauf, 6-4, 7-5.
WOMEN’S 6.0 DOUBLES
Marsha Rothemel/Jeannie Rupp bye.
Salah Morgan/Deborah Chiappe defeated Susan Gillespie/Mary Saltarelli, 4-6, 6-3, 10-7.
Rothemel/Rupp defeated Morgan/Chiappe, 6-3, 6-2.
MIXED 7.0 DOUBLES
Bruce Lockwood/Salah Morgan defeated Dave Davis/Laura Davis, 4-6, 6-1, 10-8.
K.C. Scott/Denise Scott bye.
Mike Williamson/Marsha Rothemel bye.
Hal Spottswood/Karen Spottswood bye.
Scott/Scott defeated Lockwood/Morgan, 6-4, 6-0.
Spottswood/Spottswood defeated Williamson/Rothemel, 6-2, 6-1.
Spottswood/Spottswood defeated Scott/Scott, 6-2, 6-3.
GIRLS 18-UNDER SINGLES
Megan Wright bye.
Alyssa Tigner defeated Jessica Browning, 8-6.
Cherokee Jackson defeated Samantha Baker, 8-2.
Sophie Mullen bye.
Kasi Krieger bye.
Fiona Murphy defeated Lindsey Williams, 8-1.
Katey Singer defeated Brianna Dix, 8-5.
Elizabeth Morton bye.
Wright defeated Tigner, 8-0.
Mullen defeated Jackson, 8-3.
Krieger defeated Murphy, 8-2.
Morton defeated Singer, 8-1.
Wright defeated Mullen, 6-2, 5-7, 10-6.
Morton defeated Krieger, 6-2, 6-4.
Morton defeated Wright, 6-2, 6-1.
GIRLS 15-UNDER SINGLES
Paige Pritchard defeated Jordan Watson, 8-3.
Alex Jenny defeated Keelyn Taylor, 8-2.
Jenny defeated Pritchard, 8-6.
GIRLS 12-UNDER SINGLES
Alana Rhodes defeated Katherine Hines, 8-1.
Emily Hines defeated Carley Walters, 8-0.
Rhodes defeated E. Hines, 8-2.
GIRLS 18-UNDER DOUBLES
Kasi Krieger/Elizabeth Morton defeated Jessica Browning/Brianna Dix, 8-0.
Katey Singer/Jessica Singer defeated Callie Mantooth/Breanna Hunt, 8-4.
Fiona Murphy/Sophie Mullen defeated Samantha Baker/Lindsay Williams, 8-0.
Alyssa Tigner/Meagan Wright bye.
Krieger/Morton defeated Tigner/Wright, 6-1, 6-3.
Singer/Singer defeated Murphy/Mullen, 6-2, 7-5.
Krieger/Morton defeated Murphy/Mullen, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
GIRLS 15-UNDER DOUBLES
Keelyn Taylor/Alex Jenny defeated Kaitlin Meinershagen/Kaitlyn Crow, 8-2.
Cherokee Jackson/Paige Pritchard bye.
Jackson/Pritchard defeated Taylor/Jenny, 8-4.
BOYS 18-UNDER DOUBLES
Chris Kelley/Jacob Pharis defeated Eric Delaney/Matt Delaney, 9-7.
Peter Mueller/Joel Rodgers bye.
Noah Smith/Chandler Chiappe bye.
Mark Babbe/Eddie Babbe bye.
Arie Angeledes/Alex Angeledes bye.
Grey Dulcie/Blake Kramer bye.
Kolby West/D.J. Santiago bye.
Jonathan Wolfe/Parker Miller bye.
Mueller/Rodgers defeated Kelley/Pharis, 8-4.
Smith/Chiappe defeated Babbe/Babbe, 8-4.
Angeledes/Angeledes defeated Dulcie/Kramer., 8-5
Wolfe/Miller defeated West/Santiago, 8-2.
Mueller/Rodgers defeated Smith/Chiappe., 8-5
Wolfe/Miller defeated Angeledes/Angeledes, 8-4.
Mueller/Rodgers defeated Wolfe/Miller, 6-3, 6-0.
BOYS 15-UNDER DOUBLES
Matt Golba/Thomas Tigner defeated Nick Sandelin/Sheridan Baze, 8-3.
Lucas Nunez/Beau Pritchard defeated Josh Smith/Trace Chiappe, 8-6.
Nunez/Pritchard defeated Golba/Tigner, 6-4, 6-4.
BOYS 18-UNDER SINGLES
Jonathan Wolfe defeated Eddie Babbe, 8-2.
Parker Miller bye.
Chandler Chiappe bye.
Joel Rodgers bye.
Grey Dulcie bye.
D.J. Santiago defeated Matt Delaney, 8-0.
Arie Angeledes defeated Blake Kramer, 8-5.
Peter Mueller bye.
Miller defeated Wolfe, 6-3, 6-0.
Rodgers defeated Chiappe, 8-2.
Dulcie defeated Santiago, 8-3.
Mueller defeated Angeledes, 8-0.
Miller defeated Rodgers, 6-3, 3-6, 10-3.
Mueller defeated Dulcie, 6-4, 6-3.
Miller defeated Mueller, 6-4, 6-1.
BOYS 15-UNDER SINGLES
Kolby West bye.
Beau Pritchard defeated Josh Smith, 8-3.
Alex Angeledes defeated Sheridan Baze, 8-3.
Thomas Tigner defeated Nick Sandelin, 8-1.
Lucas Nunez bye.
Noah Smith defeated Eric Delaney, 8-0.
Trace Chiappe defeated Brennan Ross, 8-0.
Matt Golba bye.
Pritchard defeated West, 8-2.
Tigner defeated Angeledes, 9-7.
Smith defeated Nunez, 8-2.
Golba defeated Chiappe, 8-2.
Pritchard defeated Tigner, 8-5.
Golba defeated Smith, 8-2.
Pritchard defeated Golba, 8-4.
BOYS 12-UNDER SINGLES
Caleb Pritchard defeated Anthony Barnett, 8-6.
Payton Freeman defeated Jack Miller, 8-5.
Freeman defeated Pritchard, 8-2.
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