Hermitage Ends acac’s Anthem Cup Reign

By John Packett, RTA Contributing Writer

Hermitage Ends acac’s Anthem Cup Reign

RICHMOND– With the specter of six-time champion acac looming over the Anthem Cup Club Challenge, Hermitage Country Club captain Mark Bernstine figured his team would be runners-up again. 

“I never imagined we would actually win,” said Bernstine. “I didn’t think it would probably happen.”

But it did.

Getting plenty of help in the form of victories from the 4.5 division – 12 of 15 matches supplied two points – Hermitage edged acac 108 to 106 to capture its first Anthem Cup on Sunday at the Westwood Club.

Bernstine said his team has a lot of fun no matter what spot they place in.

“We just seemed to win a few more matches the past couple of years,” said Bernstine, director of tennis at the Goochland County Club. “This is just icing on the cake to be able to pull it off.”  

Last year, Hermitage tied for second with Westwood with 107 points, three behind acac.

Bernstine said Hermitage’s tennis-playing membership is at an all-time high.

One of those new members is Andy Todd, who played 4.5 mixed with Mary Beth Edwards. The duo supplied the clinching two points with a victory over a Salisbury Country Club duo.

Kevin Rotty and John Snead also contributed two more points at the 5.0 men’s spot while Susan Hanson and Ryan Bernstine picked up the final point in the 5.0 mixed division.

Playing in his third Anthem Cup Challenge for Hermitage, Joe Iuorno said he has seen the level of play improve.

 “There’s just more interest in our club to play tennis,” said Iuorno. “More people coming out of the woodwork that want to play.”

Finishing third in the 25th annual cup was host Westwood with 103 points. Burkwood Swim and Racquet Club placed fourth (102) and Dominion Club and Midlothian Athletic Club tied for fifth with 100 points.

Woodlake Swim and Racquet Club placed seventh with 99 points, followed by Salisbury (98), Country Club of Virginia (95), Willow Oaks Country Club and Raintree Swim and Racquet Club (each with 94) and Midlothian Tennis Club (88).

The tournament, spread over three days, uses the U.S. Tennis Association rating system from 3.0 to 5.0 divisions in men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.

 Over 500 players compete in the event, which is the largest of its kind in the state. 

This is Hermitage’s 15th year of competing for the prestigious trophy.

Bernstine said some people were skeptical he could field a team.

“So it’s neat going from there and seeing it build up over the years,” said Bernstine.