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USTA Southwest Announces Award Winners

December 5, 2016 07:27 PM

USTAFYIGalt_Southwest_1c-blue282  USPTASW_Logo
USTA Southwest/USPTA Southwest Annual Meeting Weekend/

Annual Awards and Hall of Fame Ceremony 
Jan. 27-29, 2017  - Scottsdale Plaza Resort

Eleven award winners selected among USTA Southwest's best players, organizations and volunteers
Hall of Fame Announces Former UNM Coach Paul Butt and
Longtime Northern Arizona Volunteer Larry Lineberry As 2017 Inductees 


SCOTTSDALE - Eleven USTA Southwest Award winners and two new members of the Section's Hall of Fame Class were recently selected. 

Award winners and new Hall of Fame inductees were selected from nominations among members in their respective districts, then decided upon at a Section level.

The group of 2016 Award winners (calendar year) and the 2017 Hall of Fame class of Paul Butt and Larry Lineberry will be recognized at the USTA Southwest Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet on Saturday evening, January 28 at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort.

That event will be part of a larger weekend gathering of USTA Southwest volunteers and a weekend tennis symposium put on in combination with
USPTA Southwest, the largest collective body of tennis teaching professionals in the Southwest.

Both organizations will put on educational seminars and on-court trainings for tennis volunteers and organizers over the course of the weekend.

The Awards and Hall of Fame Banquet will be held from 5:30-9 pm on Saturday, January 28, and will also include USPTA Southwest's top awards honorees for the year.

The event is open to the public and people are welcome to attend the USTA Southwest/USPTA Southwest Awards Ceremony.

The cost per attendee is $50 and must RSVP by January 15 to Brooke Damore at bdamore@southwest.usta.com

Our host hotel for the event is the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Attendees can secure our room special rate of $189/night by clicking this link and mentioning that they are with the USTA Awards Ceremony. 

Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year was Barbara Grega of Belen, New Mexico. Grega has been instrumental at growing tennis in her small town, serving as coach for summer Junior Team Tennis, middle school tennis programs, runs the annual NJTL tournament, and has helped Belen, a town of just over 7,000, a tennis spot on the map in New Mexico.  

 Family of the Year award was given to the Castillo Family, an enthusiastic group of four from Las Lunas, New Mexico (Matt, Jennifer, Xavier and Isaiah). The family has been a passionate advocate for the sport in their small town just south of Albuquerque, petitioning to start middle and high school programs from scratch, serving as JTT coaches, while the kids are becoming more and more involved with the sport in tournaments, JTT and the like.  

Our Junior Players of the Year were - Kylie McKenzie (Anthem, Ariz.) and Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, Ariz.), both repeat female and male winners. Both Kylie and Nathan played at the junior US Open in 2016, and McKenzie has been bouncing back and forth playing professional and junior events as an amateur. Ponwith graduated last spring and is now attending University of Georgia, after one of the most successful boys' junior career in Southwest history.

BezemekHigh School Coach of the Year honors went to El Paso Socorro head coach Mike Bezemek (pictured, right). Coach Bezemek has been Socorro's coach for more than a dozen years, turning a school without a lot of financial advantages into one bustling with activity, and one that helps fill out Junior Team Tennis squads, eventual USTA League teams, and the occasional college scholarship player.

Bezemek is also a no-cut coach, a mentor and positive influence on many of his young charges.  

Outstanding Tournament Enrichment award went to Guillermo Lucero of Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex, for the quality local, section and national events he has helped run out of one of the largest tennis centers in the Southwest.

 USTA Southwest League Captain of the Year went to El Paso's Vianka Sanchez.

Sanchez was on 15 league teams in 2016, captaining two and co-captaining more, but it's her involvement in Greater El Paso's new, beginner leagues that have been the most impressive. A busy working mother, Sanchez has been a mentor and non-playing captain to six new 2.5 and 6.0 mixed teams in the last two years, helping recruit new members, organize practices, and work with new captains to familiarize them with the league program.

Our USTA Southwest Member Organization of the Year was the Tennis4Futures group in Albuquerque, a start-up program in 2014 led by volunteer coaches that sprung from a $500 community grant into a fun, safe program that now provides 42 weeks of tennis activity for youth players at Lobo Tennis Club. The program has set the groundwork for continued involvement in tennis from mid-school to high school.

Event of the Year was the 20th Annual USTA Northern New Mexico Mid-School Tournament, which, besides reaching its 20th year in 2016, impacted 668 youth on 50 teams from across the district. Put on by the USTA Northern New Mexico district, this event is the culmination event each summer that showcases how deep the district's passion and involvement for middle school tennis truly is.

IvanaCorleyJunior Sportsmanship winner was Ivana Corley of Albuquerque. Corley (pictured, right) has been a steady competitor nationally (top 40 national ranking in 2016), a past state high school champion, and has played in virtually every USTA program available to her since starting the game. But, it's her usual bright demeanor and consistent fair play at tournaments that earns her this award.

 Adult Player of the Year for 2016 was Buckeye, Arizona's Kelly Davidson. Davidson is currently the top player in Men's 60s singles in the Southwest, winning the Clay Court Championships and the Phoenix Open this past year.
Congratulations to all our newest award winners and our Hall of Fame inductees. 



2016 USTA Southwest Award Winners 

Community Tennis Volunteer of the Year:
Barbara Grega (Belen, NM)

*Family of the Year: The Castillo Family (Los Lunas, NM)

Junior Player of the Year (Female) - Kylie McKenzie (Anthem, Ariz.)
unior Player of the Year (Male): Nathan Ponwith (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

High School Coach of the Year: Mike Bezemek, El Paso Socorro High (El Paso, Texas)
Tournament Enrichment: Guillermo Lucero (Surprise, Ariz.) 

USTA League Tennis Captain of the Year: Vianka Sanchez (El Paso, Texas)
*Member Organization of the Year: Tennis4Futures  (Albuquerque, NM) 

Event of the Year: USTA Northern New Mexico 20th Annual Mid-School Tournament (Albuquerque, NM)

*Junior Sportsmanship: Ivana Corley (Albuquerque, NM)
Adult Player of the Year: Kelly Davidson (Buckeye, Ariz.)  

*National awards: These USTA Southwest Award winners will be submitted for USTA national awards consideration in these categories.