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2013 Midwest Spring Award Winners

March 25, 2013 02:09 PM

The USTA/Midwest Section will honor its 2013 Midwest Spring Award winners at an awards luncheon on Saturday, April 13. The luncheon is held during the USTA/Midwest Section Spring Meeting at the Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel in Carmel, Ind.



Cap Leighton Award – Chuck Kuhle from Decatur, Ill.
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.


Kuhle has been instrumental to the growth and vitality of tennis in the Decatur area through his position as a tournament director and tennis professional. Kuhle and his passion for tennis benefitted the former Middle Illinois Tennis Association (MITA is now part of the Mid-South Illinois Tennis Association) for almost 20 years. In addition to his Director of Tennis positions at Decatur Athletic Club and Decatur Park District, he is active in tennis initiatives outside his work responsibilities.
Kuhle has served as tournament director for the USTA Men’s $10,000 Pro Circuit Futures in Decatur for the past 15 years. He also oversees all tennis programs which take place at two area facilities. In addition to these responsibilities, he volunteers his time at the USTA, USTA/Midwest Section, and District levels. Kuhle is currently a USTA Pro Circuit Committee member and USTA/Midwest Section Nominating Committee member. His contributions throughout the District include past involvement on the Board of Directors and volunteer on various committees. 
Also, Kuhle has spoken at USPTA and USPTA Midwest Division conferences, and written articles for inclusion in both organization’s publications. His honors include being named the 2008 Racquet Sports Industry Magazine Junior Development Champion of the Year, and 2002 and 2006 USPTA Illinois State Professional of the Year. Kuhle has trained and positively impacted hundreds of USTA, USTA/Midwest Section, and District level players over the years.



Community Tennis Association Award – Evanston Community Tennis Association from Evanston, Ill.

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 Evanston Community Tennis Association was started in 2001 in an effort to coordinate tournaments, leagues, recreational events, and other activities for tennis enthusiasts in Evanston and surrounding communities. The Evanston Community Tennis Association offers a range of programs which span from youth through senior players. 
Evanston Community Tennis Association has focused on the Midwest Youth Team Tennis program for 10-and-under youth the past two years which uses the QuickStart Tennis play format. Also, fall and spring tournaments are offered for all ages and ability levels, and the annual Fourth of July tournament draws up to 125 participants.  
Evanston Community Tennis Association collaborates with the Northwestern University tennis teams for fundraising events. Also, a scholarship program has been started to support Evanston high school teams and player. 
Evanston Community Tennis Association exhibits strong sponsorship involvement from local companies and stores. Evanston Community Tennis Association spreads its message through various social media channels and utilizes its website. Evanston Community Tennis Association has a strong volunteer base which includes board members who are all active tennis players in local leagues, clubs, and tournaments.


Fred Burns Award – Shannon Russell from Cincinnati, Ohio

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.


Russell has served as a sports reporter for The Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper for more than ten years. Russell’s coverage includes the spectrum of tennis articles from high school matches to the Western & Southern Open professional tournament. Her work during the summer focuses primarily on the Western & Southern Open, and includes articles in the newspaper’s printed version, articles for the newspaper’s website online blog, and a detailed Twitter log during the actual tournament. 
Russell has written a number of recent tennis articles in the Cincinnati area including a tribute to the late Paul Flory who was a former Chairman of the Western & Southern Open, one of the top Midwest junior players Nicole Gibbs, an inspirational wheelchair player, coverage of high school tennis, and Western & Southern Open article. 
Russell 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 Cincinnati area.



Helen Shockley Award – Gabriela Rosales from Munster, Ind.

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.


Rosales was recently honored as the 2012 Joe Saine Sportsmanship Award Junior Female Player of the Year from the Northern Indiana Tennis Association. She is currently ranked No. 8 in Northern Indiana and No. 28 in the USTA/Midwest Section. She competes in USTA and USTA/Midwest Section tournaments.

Rosales has played high school varsity tennis the past three years, and finished the Illinois High School Association State Championships last fall with a sixth place finish. During her 2012 high school season, she received All-State First Team honors.   
During the past two years Rosales has competed as part of the Northern Indiana Tennis Association squad at the prestigious USTA/Midwest Section Marian Wood Baird Cup. She previously competed for Northern Indiana on the USTA/Midwest Section District Team Cup (Boys’ and Girls’ 14 age division). She is the recipient of three sportsmanship awards from USTA/Midwest Section tournaments.

Off the tennis court, Rosales is a member of the National Honor Society, and is a teacher’s aide and involved in the recruitment corps at her high school.



Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. Award – Jacob Dunbar from Medina, Ohio

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.


Dunbar is currently ranked No. 28 in USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18 and No. 21 in Northeastern Ohio Boys’ 18. He was recently honored with the Ohio Tennis Coaches’ Association John P. Harlow Sportsmanship Award. This award is presented to a player who reaches the semifinals of the state tournament, and displays outstanding sportsmanship throughout the entire tournament.
Dunbar has been named the Medina County Most Valuable Tennis Player the past two years. He posted an undefeated 48-0 record in regular season play his freshman and sophomore years. Dunbar has won two USTA Super National Championships and eight USTA National Open Championships. Dunbar has received three USTA/Midwest Section tournament sportsmanship awards. 
Dunbar represented the USTA/Midwest Section in the 2012 USTA Zone Team Championships for Boy’s and Girls’ 16. He reached the finals of the 2012 Northeastern Ohio District Tennis Association Junior Qualifier. 
Off the tennis court, Dunbar is a member of the National Honor Society. He is a member of his high school’s Student Council and Impact. Dunbar is graduating high school one year early, and will attend the University of Richmond in Fall 2013 on a collegiate tennis scholarship.



Member Organization of the Year Award – Chicago Prairie Tennis Club 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.


Chicago Prairie Tennis Club was founded in 1912 on the belief that athletic competition and good sportsmanship are prerequisites for building personalities and character. The organization celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, and became the first and now the oldest African American tennis organization in the country. The organization was recently awarded the 2012 Chicago District Tennis Association Member Organization of the Year Award.
Chicago Prairie Tennis Club strives to make tennis available to every young individual in Chicago through promotion of character development and self-worth by encouraging academic excellence, physical development, and goal oriented recreation. Chicago Prairie Tennis Club consists of a thriving junior program which was launched in 1975, and has provided instruction to more than 8,000 junior players. Former WTA player and current USTA First Vice President Katrina Adams is the organization’s most prominent former junior program participant. 
Chicago Prairie Tennis Club has partnered with a local company for more than 40 years to provide its summer programming at Lake Meadows Tennis Center. Chicago Prairie Tennis Club offers a scholarship program for its junior development program which is made possible through donations and contributions. The junior program is provided at an affordable cost to families as it is subsidized by club membership funds. 


Stanley Malless Award – Eric Schacht from Champaign, Ill.

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.


Schacht led the launch to form the Mahomet Community Tennis Association in 2009 to introduce tennis to this area with few tennis courts and no high school team. During the past five years more than 30 junior high and high school girls have participated in a program designed with the team concept. Schacht’s dedication to working with the girls in the program has led to them recently playing competitive matches against area clubs, tournaments, and invitational events.
Two years ago, the Mahomet CTA started offering a Midwest Youth Team Tennis program targeting for youth 10 years of age and younger. Approximately 60 children participated in the summer program in 2012, and the successful program will again be offered in 2013. 

Schacht has been coaching girls’ tennis teams for several years, and was previously the coach at two area high school teams. He also served as a volunteer coach for the University of Illinois women’s collegiate team.



Frank Dowling Award – Ron and Carol Gander from Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

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.


Ron and Carol Gander have more than 50 years of tennis officiating between them. They have been instrumental in establishing parameters, processes and criteria regarding officiating throughout the Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association and USTA/Midwest Section. Their list of officiating assignments include the USTA/Midwest Section Closed Outdoor Junior Championships, USTA/Midwest Section Adult and Senior League Championships, USTA/Midwest Section Junior Designated tournaments, Northeastern Ohio Junior Qualifier, Northeastern Ohio State Adult and Senior League Championships, and local tournaments. 
Ron and Carol have made a positive impact on tennis players of all ages over the years through their instruction, coaching, administration, and officiating. They have been involved in all aspects of tennis officiating, and place a special emphasis on local junior and adult tournaments.
In addition to their officiating roles, Carol is the Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association Executive Director. Ron volunteers for the USTA/Midwest Section, and is currently a Grievance Committee member. He is also a Past President of the Northeastern Ohio Tennis Association. Also, Ron and Carol have served as tournament directors for numerous local tournaments over the years. 



Wheelchair Performance Award – Curt and Lynn Bender from Zeeland, Mich.
The Wheelchair Performance Award recognizes a volunteer, wheelchair player, tennis professional or coach who has made outstanding contributions, and has demonstrated excellence in the sport of wheelchair tennis.  This individual has shown evidence of dedication to improving, advancing and promoting wheelchair tennis in his/her community.


Curt and Lynn Bender have worked tirelessly and served as advocates over the past ten years to promote and grow wheelchair tennis throughout the Western Michigan Tennis Association, USTA/Midwest Section and USTA. They were recently honored with the 2012 Racquet Sports Industry Wheelchair Tennis Champions Award. 
The Benders are dedicated to wheelchair tennis at every level. They started the Grand Rapids Wheelchair Sports Association, and spearheaded the Grand Valley State University wheelchair collegiate tennis team. They host an annual USTA National Wheelchair Championship, coordinate fundraisers to benefit wheelchair tennis, work with other communities to start wheelchair programs, host up/down events to get able bodied players introduced to wheelchair tennis, and offer workshops to train tennis professionals how to coach wheelchair players.
The Benders serve as volunteers on the USTA Wheelchair Committee and USTA/Midwest Section Diversity Committee. Curt is also a member of the International Tennis Federation Wheelchair Committee. They have both been honored for their efforts to promote and grow wheelchair tennis. Curt is a former recipient of the Western Michigan Tennis Association Player of the Year Award. Lynn is a former recipient of the Western Michigan Tennis Association Distinguished Service Award. She was also honored by the International Tennis Hall of Fame with the 2011 Tennis Educational Merit Award.