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2012 Midwest Spring Award Winners

March 15, 2012 02:09 PM

The USTA/Midwest Section honored its 2012 Midwest Spring Award winners at an awards luncheon on Saturday, April 21. The luncheon was during the USTA/Midwest Section Spring Meeting at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel in Carmel, Ind.


Click here for images from the event.


Cap Leighton Award – Wendy Franz from Midland, Mich.
The Cap Leighton Award recognizes the tennis teaching professional who contributes to tennis in his or her community beyond his livelihood.  This person gives freely in promoting involvement in tennis for players of all levels and ages, and assists in developing tennis programs and participation in these programs.


Franz has been instrumental to the growth and vitality of tennis in the Midland area through her position as a tournament director, membership director, and tennis professional.  Franz and her passion for tennis have benefitted the Northeastern Michigan Tennis Association and particularly Midland area for more than 10 years.  In addition to her full-time position at Midland Community Tennis Center, she finds time to be active in tennis programs and initiatives outside her regular responsibilities.


Franz is tournament director for more than 20 Northeastern Michigan Tennis Association, USTA/Midwest Section, and USTA tournaments each year.  She trains several volunteers who get inspired to help grow and promote the sport of tennis through the tournaments.  In addition to her tournament director role, Franz still finds times to work with club members of all ages and abilities on their tennis skills. 


Franz’s contributions to the Northeastern Michigan Tennis Association include her involvement on the Board of Directors and volunteer on various committees.  She also volunteers as a book reader mentor to area school children, leads an impactful youth program during the annual Dow Corning Tennis Classic, and serves as a tennis mentor. Franz has positively impacted numerous tennis players, and has a distinguished record of contributions to the sport of tennis.



Community Tennis Association Award – Western Kenosha Tennis Association from Kenosha, Wis.

The USTA/Midwest Section Community Tennis Association of the Year Award is presented annually to recognize outstanding service rendered in the community served, and in the growth and development of the sport of tennis.


The Western Kenosha County Tennis Association was started in 2008 in an effort to introduce people of all ages and abilities to the lifetime sport of tennis.  The Western Kenosha County Tennis Association focused on the Midwest Youth Team Tennis program for 10-and-under youth during its first year of existence.  This program uses the QuickStart Tennis format, had 80 participants the first year, and doubled to approximately 160 participants by the third year. 


Based on the success of the Midwest Youth Team Tennis program, the Western Kenosha County Tennis Association added a Futures Tennis program last summer for 62 youth between 11 and 14 years of age.  During 2011 the Western Kenosha County Tennis Association offered two week-long high school camps for 20 students.  Also, free tennis instruction for adults was offered, and 20 adults benefited from the program. 

Each spring the Western Kenosha County Tennis Association conducts a tennis festival and Block Party for the community. 


It has also introduced children to tennis through school assemblies in eight area elementary schools.  The Western Kenosha County Tennis Association has a strong volunteer base which includes student volunteer coaches, parent coaches, and board members.


Fred Burns Award – Mark Ambrogi from Indianapolis, Ind.

The Fred Burns Award recognizes the journalist, sportscaster, newspaper, radio, or television station, which has contributed the most toward promoting tennis on the local, district or section level.


Ambrogi is a sports reporter for The Indianapolis Star newspaper.  Ambrogi covers high school tennis along with other sports.  He maintains the newspaper’s online tennis prep blog which includes articles and scores about high school tennis, and frequent updates about former junior players including Rajeev Ram now competing on the ATP Tour.

Ambrogi has written a number of recent tennis articles in the Indianapolis area including the Lawrence Township Youth Team Tennis program, Hamilton County Community Tennis Association, Match for a Cure professional tennis exhibition, and local leader Mark Miles’ tennis contributions and recent position as Super Bowl Committee Chairman. 

Ambrogi has been a great partner to the USTA/Midwest Section, and an avid contributor whose tennis coverage is making an impact promoting tennis throughout the Indianapolis area.



Helen Shockley Award – Gabriel Spindler from Clarkston, Mich.

The Helen Shockley Award recognizes the outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division female player from the USTA/Midwest Section for the highest standards of tennis accomplishments, character, conduct, sportsmanship and amateurism.


Spindler was recently honored as the 2011 Hoxie Memorial Award Junior Player of the Year from the Southeastern Michigan Tennis Association.  She finished 2011 ranked No. 5 in Southeastern Michigan, and No. 33 in the USTA/Midwest Section.  She competes in USTA and USTA/Midwest Section tournaments. Spindler has played high school varsity tennis the past three years, and sports an overall 60-6 record.  During her high school career she has won All-League, All-Region, All-County and All-State tennis honors.   


During the past two years Spindler has competed as part of the Southeastern Michigan Tennis Association squad at the prestigious USTA/Midwest Section Marian Wood Baird Cup.  Each year she finishes in the top tier of the Southeastern Michigan Tennis Association Junior District Qualifier.


Off the tennis court, Spindler is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a volunteer tutor and mentor at her high school.  She also volunteers at two local tennis clubs.



Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. Award – Ronnie Schneider from Bloomington, Ind.

The Wallace R. Holzman, Sr., Award recognizes the outstanding 16 or 18-and-under age division male player from the USTA/Midwest Section for the highest standards of tennis accomplishments, character, conduct, sportsmanship and amateurism.


Schneider finished 2011 ranked No. 1 in the nation in USTA Boys’ 18, and No. 1 in the USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18.  He is currently ranked No. 1 in both the USTA and USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18 division.

Schneider finished 2011 ranked No. 1 in the nation in USTA Boys’ 18, and No. 1 in the USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18.  He is currently ranked No. 1 in both the USTA and USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18 division.

Schneider won the 2010 and 2011 Indiana High School Association State Singles Championship.  He has won several USTA and USTA/Midwest Section tournaments including the 2011 USTA/Midwest Section Midwest Closed Boys’ 18 Singles title.  He captured both the 2011 USTA National Junior Championships singles and doubles titles in Kalamazoo, Mich. 

Schneider represented the Central Indiana Tennis Association District in the 2011 USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18 District Team Cup.  He captured the 2011 Central Indiana District Tennis Association Junior Qualifier. 

Schneider competed in the 2011 US Open Junior main draw. He has received 11 USTA and USTA/Midwest Section sportsmanship awards during his junior career.



Member Organization of the Year Award – Love to Serve, Inc. in Chicago, Ill.

The USTA/Midwest Section Member Organization of the Year Award is presented annually to a USTA member organization in the USTA/Midwest Section in recognition of its service to the tennis community, service to its members through junior and adult programs, and its history of providing those services.


Love to Serve was founded in Chicago in 1992, and impacts more than 1,000 youth each year.  It was established to keep inner-city youth off the streets by creating an alternative for them to participate in structured tennis and academic programs after-school, weekends and throughout the summer.


Love to Serve provides the following services: sets up and administers tennis lessons and programs throughout the year including summers and the schools program; encourages and develops community partnerships to maximize the delivery of programs and services; administers after-school academic and educational enrichment programs, and incorporates tennis in city-wide events throughout the year. 


Love to Serve’s array of programs include developmental tennis for youth ages 3 to 18 providing tennis for beginners to tournament level players; neighborhood college assistance program which provides tennis training and academic enrichment programming for high school students after school and on weekends; camps offered throughout the summer months; 10 and Under Tennis which includes an elementary school tennis league; and NJTL Student Athlete program which recognizes student athletes who receive good grades and compete in sanctioned tournaments with college academic scholarships. 


Love to Serve, Inc., was recently awarded the 2011 Chicago Tennis Patrons award for Organization of the Year.  Also, in 2011 Love to Serve, Inc., was named the USTA/Midwest Section National Junior Tennis & Learning Chapter of the Year.



Stanley Malless Award – Pam Dwyer from Racine, Wis.

The Stanley Malless Award is presented to a volunteer recognizing distinguished service in his or her district.  The award especially honors the individual who has contributed to the development of tennis programs from the grass roots up for five years or more.


At the District level, Dwyer has been a volunteer for the Wisconsin Tennis Association for more than ten years.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors, she has also served on numerous committees including Nominating, Multicultural, Rankings, Tournaments and Collegiate. 


Dwyer is the founder and President of the Racine Community Tennis Association.  Her hard work and efforts on behalf of tennis has resulted in tennis growth and programming in Racine and throughout the state of Wisconsin.  Under Dwyer’s guidance, the Racine Community Tennis Association partnered with the Racine Unified School District and its Physical Education Department to assist schools with incorporating tennis into the curriculum.  Dwyer has organized an Adopt a School program which invites the community to adopt a local school to help defray costs, and introduce tennis through their physical education classes.


Dwyer has partnered with the following organizations to assist introducing the sport of tennis throughout the community: YMCA, Racine Indoor Tennis Club, Racine Park and Recreation Department, Racine Unified Parent Student Teacher Association, USTA/Midwest Section Midwest Youth Team Tennis program, and local businesses/individuals.  Dwyer received the 2011 Wisconsin Tennis Association Dick Arnold award in recognition of tennis volunteering and appreciation for years of dedicated service to tennis.



Frank Dowling Award – Arnie Villagomez from Homewood, Ill.

The Frank Dowling Award recognizes a person who hs displayed outstanding attributes as an umpire in the USTA/Midwest Section for at least five years.  Frank Dowling, known for his training of umpires, was an outstanding umpire himself.


Villagomez has been officiating tennis matches since 2000, and has served as a mentor to provisional tennis officials and junior tennis players. He has served as an official and  referee for numerous tournaments throughout the USTA, USTA/Midwest Section, and Chicago District Tennis Association.  Villagomez’s list of officiating assignments include the Illinois High School State Championships, Big Ten Collegiate conference and non-conference matches, Collegiate Division I, II and III Conference Championships, and USTA/Midwest Section League Championships. 


Villagomez received the Chicago Tennis Patrons 2010 Official of the Year award.  Villagomez has committed himself to giving back to the sport of tennis, and has played a critical role in the advancement of tennis officiating throughout the Midwest.


Villagomez has held various positions with the Chicago Tennis Umpires Council including President, board member and trainer.  At the Chicago District Tennis Association level, he has served on the board, as a member of the Nominating Committee, and League Committee Chair.  Villagomez is currently a USTA/Midwest Section Delegate-at-Large, and has served on the League Committee.