Thirteen Is A Lucky Number
By Shima Grover
The 2014 Midlothian Athletic Club Wheelchair Tennis Open was the best ever in terms of volunteer support and donor participation. Thirteen players from NY, NJ, MD, VA, WVA and NC participated in the fifth MAC Wheelchair Tennis Open.
The weather was perfect and competition was fierce. The youngest player in the draw was Nate Melnyk from New York, a fourteen year old. Nate was matched up in first round play against Valeria Reyes-Chian who is also a high school student. Valeria has been playing wheelchair tennis since she was eight years old under watchful eyes of Brenda Gilmore, her coach and the executive director of Prince George (MD) Tennis and Education Foundation. Valeria prevailed 5-7, 6-2, 1-0 (10-8). Nate and Valeria are two of an elite group of wheelchair tennis players who have played on their high school tennis teams with able bodied players. In the consolation bracket, Nate played Terry Hurst from Fredericksburg and won the match 6-3, 2-6, 1-0 (11-9) before bowing out of singles when he lost to Dave Beauregard of Wilmington, NC 6-2, 6-3. Nate teamed up with Chris Lamps, one of two local players, to win the B/C doubles division. This was a good tournament for Nate who spent a total of nine hours on the courts over the weekend.
Chris Lamps of Richmond advanced to the division B final after winning the opening match against David Beauregard 6-2, 6-1. Chris played a long match against Larry Souler of Easton, MD in the final to earn the championship 6-3, 4-6, 10-5.
In division A, Bruce Patton, another local player, fought hard to reach the final. Bruce has been playing more tournaments in the past twelve months. His practice paid off in the first round match against Pat Burns of Bel Air, MD which Bruce won 6-3, 6-2. Bruce played Paddy Donaghey of West Virginia next and lost a closely contested match 6-3, 6-3. In the consolation semifinal, Bruce met Felix Suero of Kendall Park, NJ and yielded to Felix 7-6 (6-3), 6-3. Todd Cox of Wilmington, NC claimed the division A crown after downing Paddy Donaghey 7-5, 6-3 in the final.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, Truong Rehabilitation Center, VCU-Bertier Foundation, Richmond Tennis Association and Virginia Tennis Association. We were able to provide all meals on site and appreciate the food donations provided by Einstein Bros. Bagels at Stony Point, the Chick-fil-A Chesterfield Plaza store and SaladWorks of Short Pump. We received donations from a record number of area businesses. We appreciate the contributions made by Argyle Cupcakes and Frozen Yogurt, Benny’s Barbecue, Bell Greek Cuisine, Costco Chesterfield, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Double Tree by Hilton, Edible Arrangements, Fantastic Sam’s, Fox and Hound Sports Tavern/Bailey’s Sports Grille, the Fresh Market, Gearhart Chocolates, Kroger at Gayton Crossing, Plaid Racquet, Olive Oil Tap Room, Richmond Raiders, Sassy Bee, Snead’s Nursery and Florist, Sushi O, US Tennis Association and Vinnie’s Italian Grill.