The South Jordan Adult 40 and Over 3.5 men’s tennis team recently placed third at the United States Tennis Association League National Championships. The 16-member team becomes the first team from South Jordan to place among the top four nationally.
“It was an honor to represent the state,” Steve Robbins, who is a team member from South Jordan and the founder and president of the South Jordan Tennis Association, said. “Everybody played so well and played together. We knew each other really well, and that really played to our strengths.”
The team won its round-robin flight, held the first two days of the tournament, before losing to eventual- champion Pacific Northwest 4-1. A win over a Midwest team from Cincinnati, Ohio, secured a third-place finish for South Jordan’s team.
South Jordan’s Brent Perry, Ashok Xavier, Terry Lutz and Ryan Rees were also among the area players this season. Also on the squad was captain Ryan Oliphant, along with Douglas Alderman, Terry Austin, Brad Crawford, Curtis McDougal, Gary McDougal, Wayne Middleton, Eric Price, Larry Richie, Craig Swapp and Brian Tippets.
The team has been playing in a summer league since June and was fielded from two separate teams in the same age and skill division in what amounted to “kind of an all-star team,” according to Robbins.
The group won the district championship 3-2 at Liberty Park in Salt Lake over Labor Day weekend and advanced to the sectionals in Denver, Colo. in mid-September.
Robbins said that because each player needed to pay his own way and take time off work, they were barely able to field a team in Denver. With just eight players, the team swept Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming for a 5-0 victory that sent them to nationals.
Robbins noted the contributions of the team’s coach John Lin for his training regimens and recruiting efforts which led to his lineup decisions.
“Coach would say to us, ‘I’ve put together the perfect lineup; now it’s up to you to go out there and win,’” he said.
“This past season and the run to nationals was a very fun and rare experience and will be a memory that the team will treasure,” Robbins said. “Tennis is such a great sport because you can play it from 5 years old to 90, so, we’re all still relatively young.”