Sports

March 20, 2014

Dalton tennis teams win Southern Sectional

It’s a good thing there is plenty of fencing around the tennis complex at Lakeshore Park in Dalton. Sooner or later, though, they are going to run out of places to put up signs commemorating state, regional and national tennis title for the North Georgia Tennis Association (NOGTA).

Recently, two NOGTA teams returned with more banners to hang up.

The Women’s 8.5 55-and-older and the Men’s 8.5 55-and-older teams both won tournament titles at the Combo Doubles Southern Sectional Championships, which were held March 7-9 in Dothan, Ala. The tournament is sanctioned by the United States Tennis Association.

The women’s team was captained by former Dalton resident Ann Miller and included Dalton’s Nancy Crutchfield and Sharon Ouzts in tournament play, which consists of two teammates on the court having combined National Tennis Rating Program ratings that do not exceed 8.5 when combined. The men’s team included Dalton’s Gary Herd and Gary Linn.

The championship featured representative teams from 11 states across the Southeast from the Carolinas to Arkansas, although Florida has its own sectional.

The majority of the team featuring Herd and Linn has been together since 2004, when they captured a USTA national title. Since then, they have claimed five state titles and two sectional championships. The Combo Division — which is billed by the USTA as “one of the fastest growing and most popular USTA leagues” — does not compete past the sectional level, so the teams will not be in a competition for a “national” title this year.

Herd said the core six of the men’s team — himself, Linn, Rick Bettis of Sweetwater, Tenn., Glenn Wear of Athens, Tenn. and Cleveland, Tenn., duo Charles Smith and Robert Taylor — have played together long enough to overcome most adversity. That included losing on the opening day of the tournament.

However, they managed to capture their pool and advanced to the final, winning 2-1 versus South Carolina.

“What did we really have to lose at that point?” Herd asked when talking about the route to the title. “Losing on Friday may have been the best thing for us. It all worked out. Friday night we all decided to check out (of the hotel), and then we were in the finals and the guys were like, ‘Now what are we going to do, captain?’ Luckily we were able to get rooms at the same place.”

While all of the players have a deep competitive streak running through them, Linn said it is the fun of being together as a team that brings him back.

“I’ve always been a competitive person, especially when it comes to tennis,” Linn said. “We have always had such a good camaraderie since we have been playing together for so long. Most of us have played for 10 to 15 years, and we have played together for fun and for competition both with and against each other. We just enjoy being with each other.”

Herd agreed.

“Everybody goes down there focused and playing, but I was telling the guys this is one of the friendliest tournaments I have ever seen,” Herd said. “It was all good, hard-nosed competitive. You go down there with the idea of having fun, playing your best and see what happens.”

The women’s team didn’t have to worry about overcoming any stumbles out of the gate. The group went undefeated through pool play and swept Arkansas 3-0 to win the title.

“I was fortunate to have Nancy Crutchfield as my partner,” Ouzts said. “She is a strong, very consistent and always positive player. Nancy is the best at forcing opponents to make errors. She’s a great competitor, as were all the members of our team.”

Crutchfield said the two make a great team and everything came together perfectly for the team at the sectional event.  

“The stars were lined up right,” Crutchfield said. “We had lots of long, long matches and everyone just hung in there and persevered. Sharon is a lefty, so it is a little tricky playing as partners, but she is my closer. She rose to the occasion and put points away.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NW vs Cass baseball 6  mlh.jpg Thrown a curveball

    About four weeks ago, Seth Pierce and his family moved closer to Ringgold High School — a move which has big ramifications on two sports fronts. Not only will his departure affect the Northwest Whitfield High School baseball program, the move will also put him back on the football field.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • NW Football3.jpg Prep football: NW Whitfield staying hungry for more success

    Northwest Whitfield High School entered the 2013 season motivated to reach the state playoffs — something the Bruins accomplished.
    This year’s team possesses the hunger to mirror last season’s successes — and possibly more.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Chris Whitfield: Ending ride (kind of) as sports writer

    T wo weeks ago, I was told by managing editor Jamie Jones that I would no longer be a full-time sports writer with The Daily Citizen. It was a mutual decision.

    July 28, 2014

  • Local trio leads NW section to 3rd place

    Tori Owens, of Chatsworth finished 11-over-par Monday in the Junior Sectional Challenge Match at The Landings Club-Marshwood and Magnolia in Savannah for third place in the girls 12-13-year-old 9-hole division. She joined Landon Painter and Hardin Chambless on the Northwest team.

    July 28, 2014

  • SE fball conditioning 1 mlh.jpg Prep football: Raiders enter preseason hoping for breakthrough

    Entering his third year as Southeast Whitfield High School’s football coach, Sean Gray believes the last obstacle is belief.
    He believes this group of Raiders has that quality.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Devin Golden: Other sports start practice this week

    Football isn’t the only high school sport during the fall — and the others are joining in this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • Three locals on NW team in state golf event

    Three local golfers — Hardin Chambless, Tori Owens and Landon Painter — played Sunday in round one of the Junior Sectional Challenge Match.

    July 28, 2014

  • DHS fball condition#1C0E6F8.jpg Prep football: Dalton enters camp well ahead of learning curve

    The joke came quick to the lips of Dalton High School football coach Matt Land when asked how the opening day of conditioning for the Catamounts went on Friday.
    “We can quit and go home,” Land said. “They have it all figured out.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan.jpg Making a trip into town

    Frank Thomas was always driven to excel, and that sure served him well.
    “I was never that blue-chip prospect,” he said. “I had to outwork my opponents.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hall of Fame Baseball_Chan2.jpg Chris Whitfield: Memories stay with us, and go with them

    I still remember the pandemonium that broke out in the dorm at Middle Georgia College in tiny Cochran, Ga., the night of “The Slide” in the 1992 National League Championship Series. It was a fire drill, wall street-buying frenzy and a Roman toga party all in one.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo