• The Bryan Shelton Celebration of Gainesville Tennis Past & Present

    Saturday August 23rd, 2014

    A fundraiser to benefit the GACTA’s Aces in Motion (AIM) tennis outreach program.

    Click Here to Purchase Your Tickets Online Now!

    • Morning Tennis: Adult: $25; Junior (under 18): $15
    • Morning Tennis–Spectator only: Adult: $10; Junior (under 18): Free
    • Evening Celebration: Adult & Junior: $40
    • Both Events: Adult: $60; Junior (under 18): $50


    Morning Tennis
    Time:  9 am – 12 noon (check-in is 8:30 am)
    Location: DB Racquet Club, 5100 NW 53rd Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32653

    Activities include: Tennis clinics by area pros, Pro-Am, and Exhibition, Silent Auction, Music and Refreshments and Award for “Best Dressed” in Vintage Tennis Attire.

    “AIM for the Stars” Evening Celebration
    Time:  6:30 pm – 9 pm
    Location: Gainesville Garden Club, 1350 NW 75th Street, Gainesville, FL (behind Red Lobster)

    Come and enjoy the:

    • Displays of Gainesville tennis history
    • Presentations by UF Men’s Head Tennis Coach Bryan Shelton and AIM participants
    • Live music provided by the Killer B’s
    • Silent auction and raffle
    • Dinner catered by 4 Rivers, appetizers, desserts, refreshments

    Any questions, please contact Addison Staples, Executive Director, GACTA @ adstennis@nullgmail.com

  • GACTA Middle School Tennis League Completes Fourth Season


    From USTA Florida Tennis Briefs, June 13, 2014

    The Gainesville Area Community Tennis Association (GACTA) sponsored the fourth season of its no-cut Middle School Tennis League, which provided more than 100 area middle school students, from beginner to advanced players, an opportunity to play tennis in a team format for their middle school.

    The season ran during the months of April and May following the high school tennis season. Volunteer parent-captains recruited middle school students from seven middle schools under the guidance of Anne Koterba, vice-president of GACTA and coordinator of the middle school tennis program.

    Both public and private middle schools participated in the program. Schools included Jordan Glen, Oak Hall School, Lake City, Westwood, Kanapaha, Lincoln, and Howard Bishop middle schools.

    “This program is a sustainable one because we cover all our hard costs with a modest $45 participation fee, but we are still dependent on local private and public tennis facilities being willing to provide teaching pros for practices and courts for matches, and on volunteer help from parents,” Koterba said. “The participation fee also generates enough revenue to provide scholarships for students on free or reduced lunch, as well as support GACTA’s ‘Aces in Motion’ tennis outreach program for at-risk youth.”

    The no-cut format allows players of all levels to experience match play, with volunteers serving as on-court monitors to help players with scoring and rules. Before each dual match, parent-coordinators work together to match-up players of similar ability.

    “We really want the kids to have fun playing for their school, no matter what their level of experience,” said Addison Staples, executive director of GACTA.

    As in the previous two seasons, a two-day Middle School League Team Championship, modeled after the FHSAA District Tennis Championship format, was held at the Jonesville Tennis Center to end the season. Jordan Glen School, undefeated in the dual match part of the season, three-peated as tournament champion (15 points), and Oak Hall School three-peated as tournament finalist (6 points).

    Lincoln Middle School finished in third place (5 pts). In Division 1 (advanced), Ben Nagoshi/Howard Williams (Lincoln) defeated Ifadare Harris/Colby Stewart (Jordan Glen). After the matches were completed, an awards party was held to end the season. This year the Jonesville Tennis Center, Westside Tennis, and Oak Hall School, as they have in the past, provided tennis courts for match play for the middle school league, and Haile Plantation Golf and Country Club and the 300 Club also “adopted” teams for practices.

    For more information on GACTA’s programs, please see www.gainesvilletennis.org or go to Gainesville Tennis or Aces in Motion on Facebook. Photos of the middle school teams are posted on Gainesville Tennis Facebook page.




  • Eastside Boys Tennis Falls Short of State Title


    Gainesville Sun Staff Report
    Published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:00 p.m.
    Last Modified: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:39 p.m.
    Eastside high school state finalist photo

    Photo by Suzanne Cockey


    The Eastside boys tennis team fell short in its effort to unseat defending Class 2A state champion Pinecrest Gulliver Prep on Tuesday, losing four singles matches and both doubles to the Raiders at Red Bug Lake Park in Casselberry.

    Trailing Gulliver Prep’s 19-point total, the Rams finished as runners-up with 12 points, their highest finish since winning the 3A championship in 2000.

    “It was a good run for us,” EHS coach Dave Porter said. “Each year we’ve improved, and we need another year to get to Gulliver Prep’s level. I believe with another year we can actually win a state title.”

    Eastside advanced four players to singles finals before losing in straight sets to Raiders players, including freshman Benjamin Brandt at No. 2, Maxwell Curtis at No. 3, Hyunsoo Joo at No. 4 and Samuel Cockey at No. 5. Cockey gave Gulliver Prep the toughest match of the finals, pushing Robert Rogue in a 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) defeat.

    “We knew our best chance was to win it in 4 and 5 singles,” Porter said. “I think with a little more experience our guys could have pulled it out.”

    In the No. 1 doubles final, the Rams’ top pairing of Curtis and Joo dropped a 6-1, 6-3 match to the Raiders’ Baker Newman and Chase Perez-Blanco, a UF signee, after winning their semifinal match against Tampa Jesuit’s Max Azzarelli and Palmer Evans.

    Eastside’s No. 2 doubles team of Brandt and Derek Li also stumbled against a Gulliver Prep pairing, losing a 7-6 (5), 6-1 match to Robert Rogue and Andre Libnic.




  • A to Z with Peter Slaton


    By John Boothe
    Correspondent, Gainesville Sun
    Published: Friday, April 11, 2014 at 6:01 a.m.
    Last Modified: Thursday, April 10, 2014 at 6:35 p.m.

     peter slaton a to z 2

    SCHOOL: Gainesville

    YEAR: Senior

    POSITION: No. 1 singles, No. 1 doubles

    HEIGHT: 6-foot-1

    WEIGHT: 165 pounds

    Area tennis player I would pay to watch play: My partner (at No. 1 doubles), Jacob Gordon. He’s got a big first serve, and he fights. That one-handed backhand, when he gets in it, is pretty sweet.

    Best movie I’ve ever seen: “The Intouchables” (a 2011 French film).

    Coach Paul Spradling’s best words of advice for me: “Move your feet, keep the ball in play and stay relaxed.”

    Dinner on an ideal night? Leonardo’s 706.

    Easiest class or part of my school day: Ms. Paxson’s environmental science.

    Feeling I had after winning the District 3-3A title last week in my first year as Gainesville High’s No. 1 singles player: It means a lot. I just felt like it was my time to step up to the plate and perform.

    Greatest tennis player in the world right now? Roger Federer.

    Hoisting the state championship trophy as an individual competitor at the Class 3A state finals next Friday in Altamonte Springs will take … Focus. That’s going to be the main thing. I’m going to have to work for every point, limit my unforced errors and keep my feet going.

    NOTE: Slaton won two state titles as the Hurricanes’ No. 3 singles player in his sophomore and junior seasons.

    Interesting thing about me off the court: I’ve played piano since fifth grade.

    Joker on the team? Definitely Jake Gordon, without a doubt. He adds funny comments, and he doesn’t laugh at his own jokes, which makes it even funnier.

  • Aces in Motion Program Featured on WUFT TV Evening News

    WUFT Evening News recently featured GACTA’s Aces in Motion program and its leader, Addison Staples, on the evening news. Watch the interview in the video below.

  • USTA Florida Community Tennis Workshop

    From: http://www.florida.usta.com/news/gainesville_hosts_community_tennis_workshop_growing_healthy_communities111/

    The tennis community of Gainesville and surrounding areas rallied approximately 70 tennis advocates for a USTA Florida Community Tennis Workshop, “Growing Healthy Communities Through Tennis” on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014 in Gainesville, Fla.

    Participants returned to their communities armed with new strategies for growing and maintaining grassroots as well as advanced adult and junior programs and events.

    “While it was storming outside, it was pouring all kinds of tennis information and new ideas inside,” said USTA Florida volunteer and Community Outreach Committee chair Deb Anderson. “People who attended were from all walks of life within the tennis community. Attendees included local and state volunteers, municipal employees, tennis professionals, tennis parents, USTA Florida and USTA national staff and more.”

    The workshop was designed for the North Central Florida area where Gainesville tennis advocates were joined by attendees from Tallahassee to Daytona Beach.

    Some of the topics included:
    o       Creating Sustainable Community Tennis Programs
    o       Growing Junior Tennis
    o       Recruiting and Retaining and Getting Former Players Back
    o       Marketing Tennis Events and Programs and the Role of Social Media

    Anne Koterba, a member of the Community Outreach Committee and one of the workshop organizers said, “We wanted members of the various tennis communities in our area to meet and realize that if they share their local experiences, the whole area can benefit.  Our workshop topics were based on a survey of community tennis people within the state, and these topics did seem to resonate with the attendees at the workshop.”

    “The workshop was short, surgical and energizing,” said Glen Howe, tennis superintendent for the city of Tallahassee. “The bad news is that it gave me and my friends a number of items that Tallahassee will need to work on.”

    The workshop was a pilot for future workshops to be held around the state, conceived by the USTA Florida volunteer-run Community Outreach Committee. Its success was the direct result of the financial and directional support it received from USTA Florida as well as the time commitment and planning on the part of the following committee members and staff liaisons:

    o       Chair, Deb Anderson, Bradenton
    o       Connie Fenchel, Daytona Beach
    o       Judy Foster, Clearwater
    o       Sue James, Tallahassee
    o       Anne Koterba, Gainesville
    o       T.A. Niles, Fort Myers
    o       Linda Curtis, Staff Liaison
    o       Lynne Salus, Staff Liaison

  • Gainesville, Jacksonville Repeat at 2013 USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Section Championships

    Excerpted from USTA Florida:  http://www.florida.usta.com/news/gainesville_jacksonville_repeat_at_2013_usta_florida_jr_team_tennis_section_chps111/

    Junior tennis teams from Boca Raton, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Rockledge captured Florida state titles over the weekend at the 2013 USTA Florida Jr. Team Tennis Section Championships, held Aug. 2-4 at the Florida Tennis Center in Daytona Beach.

    All four teams now advance to represent the USTA Florida Section at the 2013 USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships, to be held Oct. 17-20 for the 14-Under divisions, and Oct. 24-27 for the 18-Under divisions at the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center in Cayce, South Carolina.

    It is the second consecutive year that Gainesville and Jacksonville send teams to the USTA Jr. Team Tennis National Championships.

    14-Under Intermediate Division

    JTT -14U-Int-Gainesville-champ-web


    Final: JETA 14 (Gainesville) finished ahead of Topspin Terminators (St. Johns) 134-107 in round robin play
    Championship Team Members: Captain Hayes Milani, Ethan Cockey, Ivan Esguerra, Abugail Foster, Daniela Ifju, Cassidy Lear, Charlie Meyerson, Lorna Milani, Marcus Milani



    14-Under Advanced Division

    JTT 14U-Adv-Gainsville-finalist-web

    Final: Certified Angus (Jacksonville) d. Westside Wallopers (Gainesville) 32-25

    Finalist Team Members: Captain: Robert Taylor, Players: Zach and Ben Brandt, Quin Whittaker, Madison Sagas, Sara Michal, Sophie Papa


  • GHS Hurricanes 2013 State Tennis Championship Finalists



    After two days of competition, the Gainesville boys tennis team narrowly missed winning its fifth state title but still walked away from Tuesday’s Class 3A championships with individual hardware.

    The Hurricanes claimed two state titles in No. 1 and No. 3 singles play, however, two-time defending state champion Naples Barron Collier was able to edge runner-up Gainesville by six points in the finals standings. The Cougars won three singles championships along with both doubles titles to amass 18 points.

    In the No. 1 singles finals, Gainesville senior Zach Goldberg continued his perfect season with a 2-6, 4-6, 7-5 win over Barron Collier’s Jorge Vargas. While senior Cole Fiegel lost in No. 2 singles, GHS junior Peter Slaton claimed the No. 3 singles title for the second straight year with a straight-set victory against the Cougars’ David Fong.

    Goldberg, who earned his first state championship at the meet, teamed with Slaton in the No. 1 doubles finals against Barron Collier’s duo of Vargas and No. 2 singles champion Alan Sweet. After splitting the first two sets with the Hurricanes, Vargas and Sweet pulled away in the third for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win.

    Barron Collier’s No. 2 doubles team of Paul Johnson and Doug Small would then ensure its ninth state title in school history by defeating Fiegel and Jacob Gordon 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in the finals.

    “I am extremely proud of my guys that gave it all they had,” said GHS coach Paul Spradling, who has won three state championships with the Hurricanes. “With a few breaks we would have won it. But just like a bad bounce of a ball, it didn’t go our way.

    “These guys represented their school, family and hometown very well.”

    As the No. 1 singles winner, Goldberg plays one last match today at 8 a.m. for the overall singles championship against Gulfport Boca Ciega’s Dan Stefan, who won the individual singles title on Tuesday.

    high school tennis zach and peter

  • The Sun’s 2013 High School Tennis Players of the Year

    By John Boothe
    Published: Saturday, June 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.



    Soon after trying out for the Buchholz girls tennis team, Kendal Wilby had to raise her expectations for her first year in a Bobcats uniform. To Wilby’s surprise, she locked up the Bobcats’ No. 1 singles slot as a freshman and marched to an 11-1 record before falling in the Class 4A state meet as an individual quarterfinalist. In one of Buchholz’s most dominant performances of the year, Wilby helped lead the Bobcats to a District 1-4A championship with her titles in No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles. After going 12-0 as a team in the regular season, Buchholz continued its perfect run by winning all 21 matches in the tournament. While the Bobcats missed out on a team berth to the state meet, Wilby advanced to Sanlando Park in Altamonte Springs behind the strength of her individual and doubles performances. “It was kind of mixed feelings, because I really wanted my team to come with me (to the state meet),” Wilby said. “But then again, I was really happy because as a freshman I was really excited that my first year I had made it to state. Even in doubles, me and my partner made it to state.”

    Personal notes

    While Wilby has excelled from an early age on the tennis court, her family background is steeped in the swimming pool. Both of Wilby’s parents are former University of Kentucky swimmers. Her father, Martyn Wilby, is an associate head coach with the UF men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, while her mother, Jill Wilby, currently helps run the Gator Swim Club.


    “I didn’t really know what the level was of high school tennis when I first started. Once I kind of got a feel for everything, it kind of changed because I knew I could do really well. It made my goals higher.” — Kendal Wilby



    Before he could win a state championship, Zach Goldberg had to first edge one of his teammates in a position battle. The 6-foot, 150-pound Goldberg entered his final season at Gainesville unsure whether he or fellow senior Cole Fiegel would hold the mantle as the team’s No. 1 singles player this year. While Goldberg ultimately won the job back for the first time since his sophomore year, he used the preseason competition to spark the Hurricanes on a torrid run through the Class 3A ranks. Goldberg — who lost just once this year — advanced to the state championship match for the fourth straight season where he claimed the Class 3A No. 1 team singles title. Behind Goldberg’s individual championship, and runner-up result in No. 1 doubles with Peter Slaton, Gainesville finished second overall at the Class 3A state meet behind two-time defending champion Naples Barron Collier. Goldberg reeled off 22 straight wins this season — including District 5-3A and Region 3-3A title victories — before losing in the overall state singles title match to No. 1 individual champion Dan Stefan of Boca Ciega.

    Goldberg, who was the Sun’s 2011 Boys Tennis Player of the Year, signed last November to play tennis at the University of North Florida. He plans to major in exercise science. Along with his daily training routine, Goldberg said he wants to play in as many adult tournaments as possible this summer to prepare for college, beginning with a Futures tournament in Melbourne from June 10-16.


    “Moving into state we were all playing pretty well, so we thought we had a good chance to win state, but we came up short. We were all watching each other during the final day when we were close. During the morning, we saw that we ended up losing, but we were all watching each other because everyone did well at state.” — Zach Goldberg


  • The Sun’s 2013 All-Area Tennis Teams



    By John Boothe


    First team

    Jazz Whittaker, P.K. Yonge, senior: The two-time Sun Girls Tennis Player of the Year turned in another strong season by winning her third straight District 4-1A title and advancing to the state quarterfinals in No. 1 singles and doubles.

    Kiah Turner, P.K. Yonge, junior: Posted a 9-1 record at No. 2 singles, claiming district and regional championships for the Blue Wave. Was a state semifinalist in singles play and teamed with Whittaker in No. 1 doubles.

    Kendal Wilby, Buchholz, freshman: Compiled an 11-1 record in her first year with the Bobcats, including a district title win in No. 1 singles and doubles. Advanced to the Class 4A state meet as an individual and in doubles with Courtney Cribb.

    Abigail Vlasak, Oak Hall, sophomore: The District 4-1A runner-up in both No. 1 singles and doubles for the second-place Eagles. Won her singles match at regionals. Went 7-1 during the regular season in singles play and 5-1 in doubles.

    Emily Louie-Meadors, Eastside, freshman: The District 5-2A champion in No. 1 singles and doubles. Went 11-3 in singles play and reached the Class 2A state quarterfinals. Was a state semifinalist in No. 1 doubles with Allie Sourakov.

    Allie Sourakov, Eastside: junior: Finished with a 10-3 record this season and claimed district titles in No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Went 12-2 overall in doubles play with Louie-Meadors before losing in the state semifinals.

    Second team

    Courtney Cribb, Buchholz, junior: The District 1-4A champion at No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles. Helped lead Bobcats to their 12th district title in 13 seasons with her 10-2 singles record.

    Lauren Blakely, Buchholz, senior: Went undefeated during her final regular season with the Bobcats. Earned district title at No. 3 singles.

    Madison Sagas, P.K. Yonge, eighth grade: The district finalist finished with a 6-3 record at No. 4 singles. Paired with eighth-grader Marcela Ifju to win the District 4-1A title in No. 2 doubles.

    Selin Yaylali, Oak Hall, seventh grade: The District 4-1A runner-up at both No. 2 singles and doubles. Posted an 8-1 singles mark during the regular season. Won her singles match at regionals.

    Gaelin McLeod, Oak Hall, sophomore: Claimed the District 4-1A title at No. 3 singles and was runner-up at No. 2 doubles. Was undefeated during the regular season in both singles (7-0) and doubles (6-0) play.

    Serena Colton Stark, Newberry, senior: Compiled a 6-1 record at No. 1 singles in her final season with the Panthers.

    Honorable mention: Marcela Ifju, P.K. Yonge, eighth grade; Darby Townsend, P.K. Yonge, freshman; Gaelin McLeod, Oak Hall, sophomore; Lillie Mehan, Buchholz, sophomore; Maggie Bethea, Buchholz, sophomore; Madison Parenti, Gainesville, senior; Sarah Lima, Gainesville, senior; Heather Borah, Santa Fe, junior.

    COACH OF THE YEAR: Robert Taylor, P.K. Yonge

    The Blue Wave continued their run of success in the postseason this year with a sixth straight district championship and second consecutive berth to the Class 1A state tournament. Taylor guided P.K. Yonge to a 9-4 record this season, despite having two eighth graders and a freshman among his top-five players. The Blue Wave finished eighth overall at the state meet, highlighted by Turner’s semifinals berth in No. 2 singles.


    First team

    Zach Goldberg, Gainesville, senior: The Class 3A No. 1 team singles state champion posted a 22-1 record this season and also claimed Class 3A district and regional titles. The four-time all-area selection teamed with Peter Slaton in No. 1 doubles to win district and regional championships. The duo finished as Class 3A state runner-up.

    Cole Fiegel, Gainesville, senior: The District 5-3A and Region 3-3A champion finished as the Class 3A state runner-up in No. 2 singles with a 22-1 record. Was second at state tourney in No. 2 doubles while playing with Jacob Gordon. The pair also claimed district and regional titles.

    Peter Slaton, Gainesville, junior: Won second-straight Class 3A No. 3 singles state title and finished with a 22-1 overall record. Also claimed district and regional titles this season.

    Hyunsoo Joo, Eastside, freshman: Turned in an 11-8 record at No. 1 singles en route to the District 5-2A and Region 3-2A titles. Teamed with Camille Kima to win No. 1 doubles at district and regional championships.

    Samuel Cockey, Eastside, freshman: District 5-2A and Region 3-2A champion at No. 2 singles. Paired with EHS sophomore Derek Li to claim No. 2 doubles title at both districts and regionals.

    Logan Blaser, Oak Hall, sophomore: Finished with an 11-3 mark this season as the Eagles’ No. 1 singles player and team captain. Capped season with District 4-1A title.

    Second team

    Jacob Gordon, Gainesville, junior: The Hurricanes’ No. 4 singles player captured the District 5-3A and Region 3-3A titles and finished his season with a 17-6 overall record.

    Max Portillo, P.K. Yonge, sophomore: The District 4-1A champion in No. 2 singles finished his season with a 8-3 record.

    Camille Kima, Eastside, sophomore: Won both district and regional championships for EHS while competing at No. 3 singles.

    Maxwell Curtis, Eastside, junior: Helped Eastside advance to Class 2A state meet behind his district and regional titles at No. 4 singles.

    Tabong Kima, Eastside, senior: District 5-2A and Region 3-2A champion at No. 5 singles.

    D.J. Mayer, Keystone Heights, sophomore: Posted a 10-1 record in No. 3 singles play this year to improve to 20-1 over the last two seasons. Teamed with Jared Velazquez for an 11-0 mark at No. 2 doubles in 2013.

    Honorable mention: Sam Perelman, Buchholz, junior; Peyton Nimmons, Buchholz, junior; Andrew Irani, Buchholz, sophomore; Nick Gallman, Santa Fe, senior; Shri-Ram Poddar, Santa Fe, junior; Jared Velasquez, Keystone Heights, sophomore; Grant McGee, Keystone Heights, junior.

    COACH OF THE YEAR: Paul Spradling, Gainesville

    Spradling guided the Hurricanes to a 19-0 mark this season, capped by his team’s runner-up finish and a pair of individual championships at the Class 3A state meet. Gainesville also captured a Region 3-2A title and won its third straight district championship under Spradling’s watch. While the longtime GHS coach narrowly missed adding his third overall state title trophy, he has earned Sun Coach of the Year honors in each of the last three seasons.