In June, Lake Norman will host the 2013 United States Tennis Association League Adult State Championships, a four-day tournament that will draw roughly 1,500 players, ages 18 and older, from throughout North Carolina.
The championships will be played June 27-30 at 12 sites: River Run Country Club, Charlotte Racquet Club North, The Peninsula, UNC Charlotte, North Mecklenburg Park, Cornelius Road Park, Jetton Park, Holbrook Park, the Concord Sportscenter and Hough, Hopewell and North Mecklenburg high schools.
River Run Country Club will serve as host site for the popular player party.
Pinehurst had been the event’s primary location for many years, so local organizers consider it a coup to be awarded hosting duties this year, as well as next year.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment for us to secure it,” said Wendy Fairer, president of the Lake Norman Tennis Association, which will host the tournament along with Visit Lake Norman. “It’s the first of its kind for the lake, and we hope it can be the first of many that will be held in the tennis arena.”
Fairer said the Lake Norman Tennis Association submitted its bid in July. With the help of Visit Lake Norman, LNTA had to show it could reserve the appropriate number of courts and hotel rooms for visitors.
Sherrills Ford resident J.D. Weber, tournament committee chairman for LNTA, said the projected economic impact for the Lake Norman area, based on the number of visiting players, approaches $1 million. Fairer says the association has held small, unsanctioned tournaments before but nothing on the level of the League Adult State Championships.
Weber said the association is recruiting the 75-100 volunteers needed to stage the event.
Titles will be awarded in a total of 12 levels of play in men’s and women’s divisions. Each USTA member is assigned a number indicating his or her level of play, ranging from 1.5 (learning to put the ball in play) to 7.0 (world-class player).
To qualify for the state championship tournament, a team must win its local league play. The Lake Norman association has 177 teams, with an average of 13 players per team, across towns in the Lake Norman region and neighboring areas.
The Lake Norman association’s spring schedule began Feb. 24 and runs through mid-May. Some styles of league play also are held in the summer and fall.
As a member of the Lake Norman association’s league play, Sean Cassidy has enjoyed the little bit of travel that comes with playing in annual state tournaments. But this summer, the satisfaction of winning a state championship on his home turf might have to do.
Cassidy, a 44-year-old from Mooresville, is a member of a 4.0-level men’s team based at Trump National Golf Club Charlotte. The team is co-captained by Mooresville residents Dave Dokell, 52, and Jeff Cossar, 42. Dokell says most of his teammates have played in state tournaments before.
“It’s kind of bittersweet for us,” said Cassidy, “because we like going away to play. But it’s nice to get the attention and have people coming in from out of town to see what the area is like.”
The Lake Norman association has produced several state-champion teams in the past. Concord resident Baker Arrowood, 40, captains an 18-and-older team based at North Mecklenburg Park; the core of that team has played together since 2010.
In 2011, Arrowood’s team won the state championship and advanced to the sectional tournament in Mobile, Ala. The team posted a 1-3 record at sectionals and fell short of qualifying for the national tournament.
Last year, Arrowood’s team was undefeated until losing in the finals of the state tournament. Several players return from that team, including Todd Sommers and Bob Fryer of Cornelius, Brad Hubacher and Chad Phillips of Davidson, Mark Allen of Huntersville, Alan Efremoff of Charlotte and Tommy Beecher of Concord.