The first gold medals in the NWLa. District Senior Olympics tennis tournament went to Dick Bailey (second from right) and Tom Guanella (right) who claimed the gold in men’s doubles 3.5 and below over Ralph Pondell (left) and Sam Merritt.
Debbie Liles of Fredericks, MD, Early McWhorter of Marshall, TX, and Mitch Rayborn of Brookhaven, MS, led the gold parade in tennis as the opening event of the 19th Northwest Louisiana District Senior Olympics moved along at Bossier Tennis Center.
Liles and McWhorter won the women’s doubles gold medal in the 4.0 and above division. Rayborn locked up the gold in men’s singles 4.0 and above. On the home front, Jinnie Johnson and Mollie Chance claimed the 3.5 and below women’s doubles with Paula Jones and Kaye Richard taking the silver and Gloria Smith and Donna Beaty getting bronze. And Sue Prudhomme and Gordy Ward took the mixed doubles gold with Tom and Patti Guanella second and Becky and Keith Mire third. Joe Rice, Jerry Perlman and Clarence Pinion each owned a victory in the men’s singles 3.5 and below round-robin and earned gold medals. Tom Guanella and Dick Bailey took gold and Sam Merritt and Ralph Pondell took silver in men’s doubles 3.5 and below.
In one of the best opening matches, Rayborn outlasted Petr Stapa, 7-6, 7-6 in men’s singles. They opened their match in blustery winds and cold temperatures but the tennis quickly heated up. “I was down 0-4 before I knew it,” said Rayborn who was consistent as a practice wall, tracking down shots for picture-book returns. “He was very quick to get to shots,” Rayborn said of his foe who is a native of South Africa.
Both players came to tennis in their adult lives—Stapa playing squash. Rayborn was a baseball player in his youth. “I didn’t take up tennis until I moved to America 17 years ago,” said Stapa. “I was 35 when I began tennis,” said Rayborn.
Stapa and his partner, Larry Hennon, claimed 4.5 and above men’s doubles with Rayborn and Joe Sanchez second and Jay Boyd and Steve Gore third.
Because of travel, some divisions are still to be decided.
Gibsland Bank and Trust sponsored the tennis competition which was presented by the Community Tennis Association.
TENNIS (At Bossier Tennis Center April 1-10)– Mixed Doubles: Patti and Tom Guanella d.Becky Mire-Keith Mire, 6-4, 6-3. Sue Prudhomme-Gordy Ward d. Mire-Mire 6-2, 6-4. Prudhomme-Ward d. GuanelllaGuanella, 1-6, 6-2, (12-10). G—Prudhomme-Ward. S—Guanella-Guanella. B—Mire-Mire.
Men’s Singles: 3.5 and below. Joe Rice d Jerry Perlman 2-6, 7-6, 10-7. Perlman d. Clarence Pinion 7-5, 6-4. Pinion d. Rice, 7-6, 6-7 (10-8). G—All three contestants received golds. 4.0 and above: Mitch Rayborn d. Peter Stapa, 7-6, 7-6. Mitch Rayborn d. Roy Thomas 6-3, 6-1. Thomas vs. Peter Stapa TBA.
Men’s Doubles: 3.5 and below. Tom Guanella-Dick Bailey d. Gerry Robichaux-Clarence Pinion, 6-, 6-0. Sam Merritt-Ralph Pondell d. Robichaux- Pinion 6-1, 7-5. Guanella- Bailey d. Merritt-Pondell, 6-3, 6-1. G—Guanella-Bailey. S—Merritt-Pondell. 4.0 and above. Peter Stapa-Larry Hannon d. Jay Boyd-Steve Gore 6-3, 6-4. Stapa- Hannon d. Joe Sanchez-Mitch Rayborn 6-1, 7-6. Sanchez- Rayborn d. Boyd- Gore, 6-4, 4-6, (12-10). G—Stapa-Hannon. S—Sanchez-Rayborn. B—Boyd-Gore.
Women’s Singles: Joy Parker-Schellhorn d. Paula Jones 6-0, 7-5. Richard d. Parker-Shellhorn 6-3, 0-6 (10-8). Richard d. Jones, 4-6, 6-4, (13-11). Patti Hurst vs. Richard TBA. Jones vs. Hurst TBA. Parker-Shellhorn vs. Hurst TBA.
Women’s Doubles: 4.0 and above. Patti Hurst-Becky Mire vs. Linda Dunn-Patti Guanella TBA. Debbie Liles-Early McWhorter d.. Hurst-Mire 6-1, 6-2. Liles-McWhorter d. Dunn-Guanella 7-5, 6-2. 3.5 and below. Paula Jones-Kaye Richard d. Gloria Smith-Donna Beaty 6-2, 7-6. Jinnie Johnson-Mollie Chance d. Smith-Beaty 6-0, 6-0. Johnson-Chance d. Jones-Richard, 6-4, 6-4. G—Johnson-Chance. S—Jones-Richard. B—Smith-Beaty.