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January 28, 2011 - USTA Hall of Fame Serves Up Winners

What: USTA Colorado 11th Annual Tennis Hall of Fame & Awards Celebration

Where: Marriott Denver Tech Center

When: Friday, January 28, 2011

Time: 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Beneficiary: Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation

Mistress of Ceremonies: Taryn Archer, President USTA Board of Directors

Master of Ceremonies: Andy Zodin, host of AM1510 In the Tennis Zone, In the Red Zone

Of note: 2010 Hall of Fame Inductees: Kent Woodward, Clarence Dodge, Brenda Vlasak, Art & John Hagan

Sponsors: Steele Street Bank & Trust, Jerry & Marty Berglund, Citywide Banks, Greenwood Athletic & Tennis Club, Art & Sally Hagan, Taryn Archer, Shannon Bigner, C2 Media, Nicole Hola, Kelly Lovato, Eileen Pero, Rikk Shimizu, Janice Simpson, Andy Zodin

Auctioneer: Andy Zodin

Quote of the evening: "Practice Your Serve - it's the only time you have control of the game." - Kent Woodward

Menu: Roasted chicken, smashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, triple chocolate cake

Attendance: 320

Attire: cocktail or evening attire, business dress

Special Thanks: Richard Hillway and Dennis Huspeni for Hall of Fame bios, you & me productions for Hall of Fame video

Event Coordinator: Lisa Schaefer

Board of Directors: USTA: Taryn Archer (Pres.), Carol Baily, Alden Bock, Karen Brandner, Aaron Clay, Angela Finan, Nora Harrison, Dave Hill, Nikki Hola, Brett Haberstick, Ron Steege, Carolyn Peters, Nancy Pflughoeft, Art Rimando, Rob Scott, George Tavarez, Bill Trubey, Kathleen Winegardner, Debbie Yoder. CYTF Trustees: Elieen Pero (Pres.), Lisa Harris, Nikki Hola, Dennis Ralston, Dave Romberg, Randy Ross, Jeff Salzenstein, Nancy Sayre, Janice Simpson, Tom Talmadge, David Van Liere, Clinton Vessels III

Blacktie Photos by: M. Darcy

 2010 Hall of Fame inductees: Kent Woodward, John Hagan, Brenda Vlasak and Art Hagan
2010 Hall of Fame inductees: Kent Woodward, John Hagan, Brenda Vlasak and Art Hagan

 USTA Colorado Serves Up Winners

story by M. Darcy

Until the 1950s professional tennis was exclusive to mostly affluent people in America. But the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in Colorado has made tennis accessible to everyone, largely through scholarships and programs of the Colorado Youth Tennis Foundation (CYTF).

"Tennis teaches you a lot of things,” explains Kurt Desautels, Director of USTA Communications and Publications:  “self-confidence, respect for others and for yourself, personal responsibility, hard work, and the ability to handle adversity."  That translates into all aspects of life, so why not give everyone that advantage?  In tennis, "advantage" is the single point that breaks a tie; if you win the advantage, you win the game.
Friday, January 28 USTA recognized 24 life winners and inducted five members into its Hall of Fame: Kent Woodward, Clarence Dodge, Brenda Vlasak, Art and John Hagan.

Brenda Vlasak was given the advantage of rally through the dedication of her parents. Her father started teaching her tennis in a city park, finding anyone he could to play against her. He developed her stroke and a determination that's evident in just talking to her.  "My father worked with me until I knew I could beat anybody that walked onto that court," she said. That confidence helped her win the 1995 bronze at the US Olympic Festival and the doubles title at the Easter Bowl a year later. Now, 39, she’s the Director of Tennis at the University of Northern Colorado, where she earned her Masters in Sports Administration. "Find out what you're passionate about, and dedicate 100% to what makes you happy," she advises all junior players.

Javier Zamudio gave himself the advantage of placement, setting himself up for better things.  He got into tennis through a Parks & Rec at-risk youth program, Net Results Junior Tennis, which sets personal, academic and behavioral goals with a trained tutor.  As an incentive, they receive free tennis lessons from a professional coach twice a week.  He now coaches in that same program.  It’s earned him the Charlie and Ira Brown Award for Sportsmanship. He says the award shows how much he’s accomplished, but more importantly, it will help him get scholarships for college, without which he couldn’t afford to go.

Wayne Emerick gives the advantage of shadowing, “going through the motions without hitting the ball.”  It’s what a coach does to hone your stroke, and how students learn to copy a good mentor.  Half of Wayne Emerick’s students are minority youth. He believes professional coaching should be available to anyone.  A pro USPTA coach, Emerick was given the Arthur Ashe Award for Contributions to Under-served Players for his work with the Denver Urban Youth Tennis Academy. His goal is to offer high-level coaching to keep junior players challenged and get them to compete at a high level.

You can help make winners.  CYTF is collecting tennis racquets for their Racquets for All program.  Last year they collected 700 donated racquets, refurbished them and distributed them among 30 schools, rec centers and clubs.  This year they hope to top 1000.

However, if you don’t have a spare racquet, don’t miss the exhibit, Breaking the Barriers, coming to Denver this April, which chronicles the history of African Americans in tennis.

And don’t forget, “Practice your serve - it's the only time in the game you have complete control” - Kent Woodward, 2010 Colorado Tennis Hall of Fame.

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