Knoxville, Tenn. – The women’s adult tennis team from Fort Sanders in Knoxville brought home the United States Tennis Association (USTA) team national championship. In a classic nail-biter, Anne Cherney’s 3.0 women’s team defeated Montana for the title in Tucson, Ariz. after some early setbacks.
“It was fantastic,” Cherney said. “It was a made-for-television moment that ended with a shot clipping the net then bouncing over. As I watched, it was like everything went into slow motion – then the place erupted.
“It says so much about the strength of this sport in our community. East Tennessee is a great place to play championship-level tennis.”
The other members of the national championship team from Knoxville were Jennifer Brady, Sherry Howell, Kristi Dunlap, Erica Renfree, Gina Grubbs, Jennifer Collins, Margaret “Meg” Scism, Stacy Lee Love, Michelle Harris, Rita Thome and Haely Bates.
In its first match at the tournament, the Fort Sanders team lost to a team from the Caribbean. After the 3-2 loss to the Caribbean team, the Knoxville team bounced back to beat New Mexico 5-0, Chicago 4-1 and Seattle 3-2. When the Caribbean team lost to Chicago, Cherney’s team advanced to the semifinals, where they beat Orlando 4-1.
In the finals, the Knoxville team, coached by Lanny Martin, defeated Bozeman, Mont after Brady was pushed to a third-set, 10-point tie-breaker. Ahead 9-8, Brady hit the heart-stopping shot that barely cleared the net.
“I’ve always known this team was good,” Cherney said, “but I didn’t know what to expect from them on the national level. Now I do.
“Maybe I should just retire right now while we’re on top – I just don’t know what we can do to top this win,” Cherney joked.
Teams from Knoxville also won national titles in 2007 and 2008.
Pictured above (Front Row, L to R) Anne Cherney, Rita Thome, Haely Bates, Sherry Howell, Gina Grubbs, Jennifer Collins, Coach Lanny Martin (Back Row, L to R) Jennifer Brady, Micki Harris, Meg Scism, Kristi Dunlap, Erica Renfree, Stacy Love