» News

2014 Midwest Spring Award Winners

April 17, 2014 02:09 PM

The USTA/Midwest Section will honor its 2014 Midwest Spring Award winners at an awards breakfast on Sunday, May 4. The breakfast is held during the USTA/Midwest Section Spring Meeting at the Sheraton Keystone at the Crossing Hotel in Indianapolis, Ind.




Cap Leighton Award – Emma Hubbs from Dixon, 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.


Hubbs has been instrumental to the growth and vitality of tennis in the Dixon area through her position as a tennis coach and instructor for 67 years.  Hubbs joined the Dixon Park District in 1947 when she started providing tennis lessons as an instructor.  Over the years she has continued with the park district as well as coached high school tennis teams. 

Approximately 200 youth take lessons through the park district program run by Hubbs each summer.  Over the span of 67 years, Hubbs has touched the lives of more than 13,000 young players.  She continues to be committed to the advancement of tennis for individuals of all ages.


Community Tennis Association Award – Greater Columbus Tennis Association from Columbus, Ohio

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.


Greater Columbus Tennis Association (GCTA) was started in the 1950s.  It has a long history of providing organized summer tennis for the Columbus area adults and juniors, as well as running events for the Ohio Valley Tennis Association (OVTA).  The Greater Columbus Tennis Association has provided more than $100,000 in tennis grants to local programs and initiatives since 2007.

Greater Columbus Tennis Association has offered a USTA Adult League program for several years, and in 2013 there were approximately 400 adult players.  The Midwest Youth Team Tennis program for 10-and-under youth was offered last summer in eight communities for more than 800 children.  This program uses the QuickStart Tennis play format, which uses kid-sized equipment, court dimensions, and scoring, making the game more accessible and fun right from the start.  USTA Junior Team Tennis for older youth had 62 teams and more than 500 players in 2013.

Greater Columbus Tennis Association has a strong volunteer base which includes board members who are active tennis players in local leagues, clubs, and tournaments.  The association spreads its message through marketing and public relations, various social media channels, and via its website. 



Fred Burns Award – Greg Tunnicliff from Flushing, Mich.

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.


Tunnicliff is currently a sports reporter for The Genesee County Herald.  He previously worked as a sports reporter for the Flint Journal for 17 years.  Tunnicliff’s coverage includes the spectrum of tennis articles from high school matches at all levels, USTA tournaments, special events, and local players who have had successful tennis careers. 

Tunnicliff was a former high school tennis player.  In 1995, he started ‘The Record Book’.  This publication includes statistics of every match, conference tournament, regional tournament, and state tournament in the Flint area.  Tunnicliff received a Distinguished Services Award from the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association in 1999.

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



Helen Shockley Award – Bridget Bellissimo from Middleton, Wis.

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.


Bellissimo is currently ranked No. 10 in Wisconsin and No. 130 in the USTA/Midwest Section.  She competes in USTA and USTA/Midwest Section tournaments.  In addition to this award, she was recently honored as the 2013 Frank Parker Junior Award recipient from the Wisconsin Tennis Association. 

Bellissimo has played high school varsity tennis all four years, won two conference singles championships, and helped her team win their first school state title this past fall.  Bellissimo has competed as part of the Wisconsin Tennis Association squad at the prestigious USTA/Midwest Section Marian Wood Baird Cup.  She previously competed for Wisconsin on the USTA/Midwest Section District Team Cup (Boys’ and Girls’ 12 and 14 age divisions). 

Off the tennis court, Bellissimo is a member of the National Honor Society.  She is an instructor with a local community’s 10 and Under Tennis program.  She also volunteers with the Middleton community in various capacities.



Wallace R. Holzman, Sr. Award – Felix Corwin from Elm Grove, Wis.

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.


Corwin is currently ranked No. 7 in USTA/Midwest Section Boys’ 18 and No. 1 in Wisconsin Boys’ 18.  In addition to this award, he was recently honored as the 2013 Frank Parker Junior Award recipient from the Wisconsin Tennis Association. 

Corwin won the 2013 Wisconsin State High School Tennis Singles Championship title.  Corwin represented the USTA/Midwest Section in the 2013 USTA Boys’ 18 National Team Championships.  He also competed in the 2013 USTA/Midwest Section District Team Cup for Boys’ 18.  He won the 2013 Wisconsin Tennis Association Junior Qualifier, and advanced to the quarterfinals of the prestigious 2013 USTA/Midwest Section Junior Outdoor Closed Championship. 

Off the tennis court, Corwin is a member of the National Honor Society.  He gives back to tennis by volunteering with a local community’s 10 and Under Tennis program.



Member Organization of the Year Award – South Side Junior Tennis Association 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.


South Side Junior Tennis Association was founded in 2011 on the belief that tennis should be accessible to all families and that tennis is the sport of life lessons.  Since its inaugural season, South Side Junior Tennis Association has introduced more than 500 children between 5-13 years of age to the sport of tennis on the varsity courts at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. 

South Side Junior Tennis Association expanded its programming last year to include two Chicago Park District facilities.  The organization focuses on providing instructional programing that allows each child a first rate introduction from experience instructors.  It also teaches its participants that through tennis they learn about sportsmanship, healthy competition, and work ethic.  The organization was recently awarded the 2013 Chicago District Tennis Association Member Organization of the Year Award.



Stanley Malless Award – Fely Ong from Homewood, 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.


Ong has been an active volunteer in the Chicago area for 30 years.  She currently serves on the Chicago District Tennis Association (CDTA) Board of Directors.  Ong has devoted her time and served on various CDTA committees which includes USTA Leagues, Grievance, Qualifier, and Tournaments.  She has also volunteered helping at many local tennis events

Ong is a USTA certified official.  She is also a USTA League player and captain, plays World Team Tennis, organizes flex leagues, and offers a mixed doubles league.  Ong has participated in several fundraising events outside of tennis.   

Ong was recently named the 2013 Chicago District Tennis Association Volunteer of the Year for her efforts promoting and growing tennis over the years.



Frank Dowling Award – David Nee from Fishers, Ind.

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.


Nee has been a USTA certified official for 20 years at the local, collegiate and USTA levels.  He has devoted many hours towards officiating grassroots tournaments helping players understand the rules.  His list of officiating assignments include the USTA/Midwest Section Closed Outdoor Junior Championships, Central Indiana Tennis Association (CITA) Junior Qualifier, Indiana State High School tournament, USTA/Midwest Section Junior Designated tournaments, Big Ten Championships, NCAA National Women’s Championships, Mid-American Conference Championships, USTA National Boys’ 16 and 18 Championships, Midwest collegiate matches, and local tournaments. 

Nee has served as a line umpire at the following USTA Pro Circuit tournaments for several years: Decatur, Ill., Champaign, Ill. and Midland, Mich.  In addition to his on court officiating roles, Nee has been a Sectional Trainer for umpires in the Central Indiana Tennis Association (CITA) for four years.  He has provided training for new umpires as well as umpires needing annual recertification. 



Wheelchair Performance Award – Linda Spann from Kalamazoo, 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.


Spann serves as President of the Kalamazoo Wheelchair Tennis Association which was started in July 2013.  This organization provides an opportunity for beginners, those returning to the sport, and those who are advanced to play in a competitive format.  Opportunities for its players include a summer camp, weekly practices, up/down events which include able bodied and wheelchair players, and local fundraisers.

Spann has been volunteering with wheelchair tennis since she started in 2000 with the Grand Rapids wheelchair program.  She assisted with its summer program, participated in up/down events, attended workshops, and helped with fundraisers.

Spann has been a teaching professional in the sport of tennis for 40 years.  She has volunteered with the Western Michigan Tennis Association for 35 years and the USTA/Midwest Section for 23 years.  Spann is a USTA certified official, United States Professional Tennis Association certified teaching professional, and former national ranked junior player.  Spann currently serves on the USTA/Midwest Section Adult Competition and USTA Leagues Sub-Committee.