Tennis trio headed to USTA Nationals

first_img Taylor VorthermsSports Editor at The Ellsworth AmericanTaylor Vortherms covers sports in Hancock County. The St. Louis, Missouri native recently graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and joined The Ellsworth American in 2013. Bio EHS names new boys’ soccer coach – July 13, 2016 Latest Posts Part 2: When the injury is inside your head, some “don’t get it” – July 26, 2016center_img Latest posts by Taylor Vortherms (see all) ELLSWORTH — Alan Toothaker is living his dream — a dream likely shared among tennis players across the country and maybe, after this winter, some snow-loathing Maine residents.Later this month, the 54-year-old veterinarian will travel to balmy Indian Wells, Calif., with his two teammates, Ben Beverly and Phid Lawless, to compete on the same courts as the professionals in the United States Tennis Association’s tri-level national championships.And while the three players will not be slamming down aces against Roger Federer, they’ll get to watch the Swiss pro compete in the BNP Paribas Open, which will take place each day before their own USTA matches from March 20-22.“Roger Federer could be playing on a court, and we might be scheduled to go on right after him,” said Toothaker, who also is the team’s captain. “I think anyone playing USTA tennis would tell you that’s the goal — to get to nationals.”This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe tournament merges the worlds of amateur players with the pros. They are even united on a 10-point spectrum from ratings of 2.5 to 7.0 — novice to world-class professional. Toothaker’s team falls somewhere in the middle at 4.0.The trio, which rotates as a doubles team, advanced to the national stage by notching both state and New England titles in the 4.0 age 18+ division. At the tri-level, Toothaker, Beverly and Lawless will compete as a unit along with New England’s 3.5 and 4.5-rated champions. The three teams, which have never met each other, will represent the region — one of 17 in the country.Toothaker has never before made it to nationals, but in a sport where success is measured in the quantity of T-shirts won, his dresser drawers are filled to the brim.“It’s all about the T-shirts,” Toothaker said. “Because that’s basically what you end up winning: more and more shirts.”But the root of Toothaker’s love for the sport stretches beyond his enthusiasm for cotton tees. The Ellsworth native grew up playing tennis with his father on the only court once available in town: a private facility owned by a late tennis aficionado, Roger Willey.Toothaker shifted to the Ellsworth Tennis Center (ETC) in 2001 once Susan Scherbel’s recreational complex — four indoor and two outdoor courts — was built off of Downeast Highway. Since then, Toothaker, Beverly and Lawless have been practicing there together every Monday night.“It’s the nicest tennis center in the state,” Toothaker said. “And we get the advantage of using it.”Alan Toothaker returns the ball backhand in a match at the Ellsworth Tennis Center in a Monday night practice.The tennis gene didn’t skip a generation with the Toothakers. His two sons — now adults — also frequent ETC and accompany their dad every summer to New York to watch the U.S. Open — a family tradition dating back to their childhood.“The first year I took my kids, they spent the entire time chasing down Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer,” Toothaker said. “They have autographed tennis balls galore.”Toothaker, owner of Ellsworth’s Small Animal Clinic, has never experienced a demand for his signature on any Wilson-branded balls. But he didn’t miss an opportunity to play the role of a celebrity athlete when Beverly walked into the ETC lobby before Monday night’s practice.“Ben, come over and get your interview in,” Toothaker called out to the Ellsworth carpenter. “It’s time to be a star.”At 35 years old, Beverly is nearly half the age of 65-year-old teammate and veteran player Lawless, who lives in Sullivan and owns a concrete planter-manufacturing business called Lunaform.Their ages don’t seem to concern Toothaker, even in a division shared with opponents not yet legally old enough to drink alcohol.“If they’ve been playing at all, they know looks are deceiving,” Toothaker said of his much younger competitors.At the USTA New England championships held centrally in Springfield, Mass., the three men beat a team of two 18-year-olds and a 19-year-old from Connecticut in the 4.0 finals for the regional title.“If you can play smarter, you can usually outfox them,” Toothaker said.“That’s what we definitely have to hope for,” he added in a serious tone before breaking into laughter.In just more than two weeks, Toothaker’s team will step into one of the world’s largest tennis stadiums and perform in front of tens of thousands of spectators. And whether those fans will be there to see Federer or Hancock Country’s own tennis trio won’t really matter to Toothaker under the Palm Springs sun.“We’ll basically get treated like the pros,” Toothaker said. “That’s the cool thing about going to nationals: They send you somewhere nice, treat you really well…“Plus, you get way better T-shirts.” Part 1: Invisible, incapacitating concussions are sidelining high school athletes – July 19, 2016last_img read more

Florida COVID Tests are Surging, Deaths are not

first_imgThe surge in positive test results for coronavirus cases  is surging as nearly one out of every 100 Americans has tested positive for Covid-19.However, at least in Florida, the death rate is no where near that of New York or California.Twelve deaths were announced in Palm Beach County and seven in Miami-Dade County from COVID-19 Statewide, 45 deaths were announced yesterday.Florida reported more than 15-thousand positive test cases,  pushing its total to just under 270-thousand cases since the outbreak began.  That was just one day after Walt Disney World in Orlando opened to the public Saturday for the first time in nearly four months.Despite the increase in testing and positive results, Florida has just over 4000 deaths total compared with New York’s 32,000, eight times Florida’s death toll.See death stats here:New York 32,029California 7,042Florida 4,241Texas 8,196New Jersey 15,525Many South Florida school districts will announce Wednesday whether they will allow students to return to class or if they must continue to learn on line at home.last_img read more

Leading England players named for three championships

first_img Leading players have just been selected to represent England in three international championships.They are:The Italian Women’s International at Is Molas Golf Club from 20–23 March:  Georgina Blackman of Essex, Annabell Fuller of Surrey, Cara Gainer of Oxfordshire, Lily May Humphreys of Essex, Caley McGinty of Gloucestershire and Emily Toy of Cornwall.The Scottish U18 Girls’ Championship at St. Andrews Eden Golf Club from 10 – 12 April: Rafiah Banday of Surrey, Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham (pictured) of Northumberland, Scottish-based Ellie Gower, Thalia Kirby of Buckinghamshire and Caitlin Whitehead of Cumbria.The French U21 Women’s Championship at St Cloud from 18-22 April: Emily Brennan of Staffordshire, Lily May Humphreys, Charlotte Heath of Yorkshire, Caley McGinty, Mimi Rhodes of Somerset and Caitlin Whitehead.All the players are members of England Golf national squads.The players:Jess Baker, 16, (Gosforth Park Ladies’) was joint runner-up in the English U16 Girls’ Championship and 10th in the Scottish Girls’ Championship.Rafiah Banday, 15, (Royal Mid-Surrey) won the 2018 Midland U16 Championship and was joint runner-up in the English U16 Girls’.Rosie Belsham, 17, (Whitley Bay) was runner-up in the Scottish Girls’ last year, third in the North of England U16s and sixth in the English U16s.Georgina Blackman, 22, (Chelmsford) is the English Women’s Amateur Champion and followed up this year with third place in the Portuguese Women’s Amateur.Emily Brennan, 19, (Trentham) was ninth in the 2019 South American Amateur, having been runner-up in the St Rule Trophy last year and a semi-finalist in the English Women’s Match Play.Annabell Fuller, 16, (Roehampton) is a Curtis Cup player who has just won the girls’ championship at the Major Champions Invitational in Florida, was third in the Harder Hall Women’s Invitational and fourth in the Annika Invitational USA.Cara Gainer, 23, (Castle Royle) was fourth in the New South Wales Stroke Play and reached the last eight in the NSW Amateur. She tied fourth in the 2018 English Women’s Amateur.Ellie Gower, 16 (Gleneagles) won the North of England U16 Girls’ Open and was joint runner-up in the English U16s and sixth in the Fairhaven Trophies.Charlotte Heath, 17, (Huddersfield), won the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters, and was a semi-finalist in the British Girls’ Amateur Championship.Lily May Humphreys, 16, (Stoke by Nayland) is a Curtis Cup player and the Scottish women’s open champion. She represented Team GB in the Youth Olympics.Thalia Kirby, 18, (Stoke Park), was third in the Welsh Women’s Open and had top tens in the Liphook Scratch Cup, Critchley Salver and Roehampton Gold Cup.Caley McGinty, 18, (Knowle) won the U18 prize at last year’s St Rule Trophy, where she was 10th overall. She also had top ten finishes in the Irish and Welsh women’s opens.Mimi Rhodes, 17, (Burnham & Berrow), reached the last 16 in the British Girls’ Championship and was fourth in the English Girls’ Championship.Emily Toy, 21, (Carlyon Bay) won the 2019 New South Wales Stroke Play Championship and was fourth in the English Women’s Amateur.Caitlin Whitehead, 16, (Carus Green), won the 2018 European Young Masters, the Asia Pacific Junior Championship and the West of England Open.Caption: Rosie Belsham (image copyright Leaderboard Photography). 12 Mar 2019 Leading England players named for three championships last_img read more

Crosby, Getzlaf, Giroux finalists for Hart Trophy

first_imgPittsburgh Penguins’ Sidney Crosby plays against the Columbus Blue Jackets during Game 4 of a first-round NHL playoff hockey series Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)NEW YORK (AP) – Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Philadelphia’s Claude Giroux are finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy.The NHL announced the finalists Thursday for the trophy, which essentially serves as the league’s MVP award. The Professional Hockey Writers’ Association submits ballots.Crosby scored 36 goals and led the league in assists (68) and points (104), guiding the Penguins to their second consecutive division title.Getzlaf scored a career-high 31 goals and ranked second in the League with 87 points, leading the Ducks to the top record in the Western Conference for the first time in franchise history.Giroux matched a career high with 28 goals and finished third in the NHL scoring race (86 points), helping the Flyers rally from a 3-9-0 start.The winner will be announced June 24.last_img read more