Mickey Randolph and Charmaine Hayes of Cleveland, plus Faith Hope of McDonald make up a third of the nine-member net squad of 3.5 rated players. The rest of the group include team captain Linda Davis, Marilyn McCamish and Jane Marsh from Signal Mountain, while Dianna Abney and Sylvia Hutsell live in Hixson, plus Ooltewah’s Donna Smith. A half dozen of the ladies have already been bumped up to a 4.0 ranking for next year.
Representing the Southern region of the nation, the “super seniors” (at least age 60) are playing in the United States Tennis Association national event being held in Surprise, Ariz., just outside of Phoenix.
The team participated in pool play on Friday and Saturday morning against teams from Minnesota, Northen California and Arizona. The event’s semifinals and championship matches are set for this morning.
After winning the Tennessee state title in September, the team won the nine-state USTA Southern Sectional in Hilton Head, S.C., in early December. A total of 17 sectional winners from across the nation are participating in the national championship event.
Randolph, who started playing tennis when she was 12 and has just turned 65, was on a team that qualified for a national tournament in 2001 but didn’t get to participate after she moved to Arizona. After three years in the Southwest, she returned to the area seven years ago.
Hutsell has national tournament experience, having played while in her early 40s for a 3.0 team that won a USTA title. She has also qualified with a seniors team before.
The age for the “super seniors” category will be lowered to 55 next year.