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Annual Awards Dinner Highlights Central Arizona's Best, Russell Enters Hall of Fame

April 23, 2009 01:16 AM

A heart-felt combination of cheers, tears and good company highlighted this year’s USTA Central Arizona Annual Awards ceremony and banquet April 18 at the Fiesta Inn in Tempe. Approximately 150 volunteers, employees, Board members and friends of local tennis packed the Galleria ballroom for a festive silent auction, dinner and to hear presentations and introductions by interim Central Arizona President Ed Prudhomme, Southwest Board Delegate Sally Grabham and representatives from Head-Penn Sports, All About Tennis and past Central Arizona Board members.lawson family

The crowd enjoyed passionate speeches by John Austin of the Surprise Tennis Complex, former Central Arizona President and Southwest Hall of Fame inductee Ginger Renouard and from this year’s Central Arizona Hall of Fame Inductee Tim Russell, who called on young players and fans of tennis to get involved through volunteerism. Pam Ponwith of All About Tennis introduced the 2008 Outstanding Junior Players of Year, Kelsey Lawson and Garret Dunn of Tempe, while HEAD Penn Racquet Sports representative Chuck Bahn honored Taylor Geiger of Peoria with the Junior Sportsmanship Award, which advances to National consideration. Bahn also gave Central Arizona Sportsmanship Awards in the 14-and-under category to Sara Parker and Daniel Hollands, both of Gilbert. Jeff Sikes, Marketing and Communications Manager of USTA Southwest, photographed the event.

The complete list of winners by category and a brief description of each award follows. Congratulations of all the 2008 winners!

tim russell large• Wilson Adult Player of the Year – John Witter of Chandler. Outstanding male or female who has high achievements for the year in Central Arizona, the Southwest section or nationally.

• Pam Harrison Community Tennis Volunteer – Tony Reyes of Scottsdale. To recognize recent significant contributions made by a person volunteering to promote adult or junior recreational or competitive tennis programs in Central Arizona.

• Prince Family of the Year – The Lawson Family (Slade, Tracy, Kelsey, Alex and Zach) of Tempe. To an outstanding family in the Central Arizona area who volunteers, plays and promotes tennis in a positive way.

• Head/Penn Junior Sportsmanship – Taylor Geiger of Peoria. A player who not only displays the finest qualities of sportsmanship during tournament play, but who also demonstrates exemplary conduct away from the court as well.

• All About Tennis Outstanding Junior Players – Kelsey Lawson and Garret Dunn of Tempe. For outstanding accomplishments on and off the court. These players have demonstrated significant achievement throughout the year.

• Member Organization of the Year – Surprise Tennis Complex. To an outstanding organization member who shows outstanding service to the local community and individual members.

• Outstanding High School Coach – Laurie Martin/Xavier High School. To recognize a high school coach who is making a difference in the lives of junior through a high school program.

• Outstanding Tournament Enrichment – Ruth Shoffner. To recognize those who encourage competitive play in their community by providing and enriching sanctioned tournaments in a fun, friendly and professional manner.

• Penn Sportsmanship Award – Sara Parker and Daniel Hollands of Gilbert. To an outstanding girl and boy in the 12-14 age divisions.

• Marilyn Byron Sportsmanship Award – Erica Medlin of Mesa. To an outstanding girl sportsman in the 16-18 age division.

• John Gooding Sportsmanship Award – Taylor Hoffman of Scottsdale. To an outstanding boy sportsman in the 16-18 age division.

Michael Rodriguez Ambassador Award – Geoffrey Russell of Tempe. For good sportsmanship, love of the game, encourages growth of the game at all levels.

President’s Award – John Austin and Jim Harrison. To recognize outstanding support to USTA Central Arizona.

2008 Inductee of the USTA Central Arizona Hall of Fame – Timothy Russell. The USTA Central Arizona Hall of Fame honors those whose achievements and contributions are worthy of the highest commendation and recognition.

Head of officials and USTA Board member Bob Capron also acknowledged officials with more than 10 years of service to USTA Central Arizona with a specially designed, cool weather USTA vest: Marge Chronis, Dick Dexter, Lillian Donley, Jim Evans, Lou Guest, Larry Lycett, Maxwell Nelson, Barb Pickering, Claude Pickering, Bonnie Rudolph, Berry Sanders and Ruth Shoffner.

A list of winning USTA League Captains in Central Arizona was also distributed, including: Shawn Douglas, Linda Stryker, Jerry von Teuber, Kellie Cardoza, Marianne Goldstein, Dane McNeill, Bill Campbell, Marsha Fairburn, Denice Colombero, Amy Rhoden, Mike Flinn, Heidi Nikodemus, Rick Bonafasi, Michael McDowell, Aaron Gomez, Dick Eslick, Teresa Goettl, Jay Hearshman, Carolee Williams, Nan Cusick, Theo Mandel, Ed Bader, Ray Price and Ginger Joy.