BY MIKE MALTAIS
Tennis veteran Dave Schulz and his six teammates representing the Wenatchee Recreation and Activities Club (WRAC) are the new United States Pacific Northwest Super Senior Champions following a rain-soaked tournament at Sunriver, Ore., last month.
Inclement weather with temperatures in the 40s shared the court during the entire three-day competition June 23-25, and forced players to drive 40 miles to Bend in order to play their matches on indoor facilities. The constant rain not only made the larger outdoor venue unplayable at Sunriver, it also shortened the regularly scheduled matches to abbreviated eight-point pro sets due to the limited indoor facilities.
Schulz’s WRAC team won all four of its matches in the 65-and-over division but had to battle back from two points down in the championship round to take the title. The long-time varsity tennis coach for Liberty Bell High School took a page from his own coaching manual to recover from an initial 4-2 point deficit to win the final match.
“I always tell my varsity players: ‘Never count yourself out. You can always bounce back. It’s how you end up that counts.’”
Schulz and company took the mantra to heart, rebounded to win that first game, 8-5, and came back to win five straight games and the title.
WRAC took seven players to the Sunriver doubles event to allow for an alternate in the event of injury. During the tournament a different player sat out a match to allow every member to get in on the action. Schulz played in three of the four matches his team won.
“It’s always fun when you can win over the big teams,” Schulz said earlier this week. “We played teams from Portland, Salem and Eugene and those players get to practice every day.”
In contrast, the WRAC players are spread around the state in Twisp, Cashmere, Entiat, Wenatchee and Spokane. Consequently, “we don’t get to practice together nearly as often as the big boys do,” Schulz said.
Owing to the shortened tournament, the decision is currently under discussion as to whether to send the winning Sunriver teams to national competition in Arizona later this year. “We’ve made it to nationals several times before,” Schulz said.