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Roanoke Seniors Tennis Team Heads To Palm Springs For Championship

Morris Turner, Dave Osterhaus, Bill Carico, Clay Lester, Bill Haynie, Tracy Sledd, Dan Cullather and Steve Kanetzke. Not pictured Butch Traylor and Randy Dickey.

Co-captains Dave Osterhaus and Steve Kanetzke are leading a team of ten 50-plus year old doubles tennis players to Palm Springs, California this weekend after winning several rounds of local and regional championships. The team, informally dubbed Roanoke-Kanetzke, is a “4.0 rated USTA seniors doubles team,” according to Osterhaus. They won district and sectional tourneys to become one of 17 squads playing for a national championship in a round-robin event this weekend.

After competing locally the Roanoke team won playoff events at Wintergreen and in Newport News to advance, beating squads from Maryland and Washington D.C. along the way. “Now we go to play in the nationals,” said Osterhaus, noting that this is the first year for the team – in previous years they often played against each other.

Three sets of doubles players will compete against another team; the best 2-of-3 winner advances from an initial four-team bracket. Three matches are guaranteed for the team before the semifinals and finals on Sunday. “We’ll have different people play at different times,” notes Osterhaus. The tourney can be followed at USTA.org.

Osterhaus said his team has a “calm confidence,” heading into the weekend. Some belong to local country clubs; others like Osterhaus play on public courts. A few days playing tennis in Palm Springs doesn’t sound half bad: “we’re loving life…we’re ecstatic,” said Osterhaus. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”

By Gene Marrano
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