The Third Annual Dick Vitale Lakewood Ranch Intercollegiate Clay Court Classic featured some of the nation’s top tennis programs and raised $10,000 for cancer research this past weekend.
The three-day tournament boasted a field of 16 Division I teams and counts toward each player’s individual ranking. The men’s teams scheduled to compete are Arizona, Duke, Minnesota, Miami, Florida, Oklahoma State, Princeton, Virginia, USF and Pepperdine. The women’s teams are defending national champion Florida, Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Miami, Alabama and Memphis.
The University of Florida tennis program enjoyed a strong showing. Men’s double team Billy Federhofer and Gordon Watson defeated Minnesota’s Matthew Froment and Juan Pablo in the finals to win the championship while the Gators’ women’s team reached the singles and doubles finals. Florida’s Brianna Morgan and Alexandra Cercone lost to Memphis’ doubles team Kelly Gray and Courtney Collins in the finals and Caroline Hitimana finished runner-up to Memphis’ Liza Tymchenko in women’s singles.
Pepperdine University’s Finn Tearney defeated Andre Vidaller of Arizona to win the men’s singles competition.
The Vitales hosted a VIP party for the players at their home in Lakewood Ranch. The players were also visited by renown tennis coach Nick Bollettieri.
East Word features news and views about East Manatee from members of the Lakewood Ranch Herald and Bradenton Herald.
Jason Bartolone: Jason returned for his second tour of duty at the Herald in August 2013 as East Manatee Editor, following a three-year stint with local news startup Patch. He previously served as a copy editor/page designer and Page 1A editor with the paper from 2005-10. He has more than 10 years of journalism experience and holds a degree in journalism from Penn State University. A New Jersey native, Jason moved to Florida in 2005 and now resides in Lakewood Ranch with his wife and infant son. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jasonbartolone.