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CVITT 2011 and Beyond


2011 and Beyond

          One thing that continually amazes all CVITT tennis aficionados is that so many of the tourney’s players and champions come from so far away!  Here’s at least a partial United States’ list: Georgia, Florida, Texas, California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington (DC), North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and New Mexico.  That’s 22 states and The District Of Columbia!  They came from incredible cities such as Miami, Houston, New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, Knoxville, St. Louis, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans.  World-wide?  Try this on for size: Indonesia, Australia, Egypt, Nigeria, Sweden, Norway, France, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, England, Spain, Italy, Russia, The Ukraine, Serbia, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Algeria, Japan, Jamaica, and The Dominican Republic.  That’s 23 foreign places.

          Here are some real CVITT trivia items: Allen Morris has the most overall CVITT titles with 27.  Paul Caldwell is next with 14.  The rest of the overall top CVITT titles’ list goes like this: Carl Clark 13; Winder Bill 10; Lynchburg’s Drew Robinson 10; Lynchburg’s Mark Vines 9, Chris Blair 9, Mike Barnes 9; Nick Powell 9; Gene Russo 8; Fred McNair III, 8; Bo Roddey 7; Bob Cage 6; Ray Lake 6; Larry Rauppius 6; Lynchburg native Kirsten Caister Elim 6; Lynchburg native Bobby Heald 5; Dick Makepeace 5; and Trevor Spracklin 5.  In men’s singles’ play, runners-up "Bridesmaids" are: Winder Bill with 8, and Carl Clark with 5.  Just because someone might be a multi-time champion with the CVITT doesn’t mean that the netter in question (or triumph) is automatically excluded from the overall "runner-up" list.  Look who has finished "second" (in various divisions) the most: Paul Caldwell 13; Allen Morris 12; Bobby Heald 10; Dick Makepeace 9; Jim Stennett 7; Drew Robinson 7;Carl Clark 6; Craig Lemley 6; Bill Shivar, Sr., 6; David Leatherwood 6;Bob Cage 5; Bobby Goeltz 5; Fred McNair, IV, 5; and Larry Rauppius 5.  Competition, throughout the years in Central Virginia’s leading tennis event, has been and will continue to be fierce!  The best overall finals’ winning percentage goes to Gene Russo, who has won eight of the 10 finals he’s encountered.  That’s an 80% winning mark!!!

The three tallest (men’s) CVITT players were: 6-foot-8 Jon Isner (the Greensboro, NC, player who (as a high school junior) was the 2002 runner-up in the CVITT and was later an NCAA singles’ champion (2006) at The University of Georgia), and now an international name, 6-7 Cary Stansberry (San Francisco, CA) and 6-foot-6 Mike Eikenbury (UVa and Peru, Indiana).  The three shortest CVITT (men’s) players were 5-6 Harold Solomon (Silver Spring, MD; Houston, TX; Fort Lauderdale, FL), 5-6 Oscar Blacutt (Greensboro, NC, and Bolivia), and 5-6 Sergio Rojas (Peru and Miami Beach, FL).

Great players have come from great college tennis programs such as: Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Princeton.  Three years in-a-row (1993-1994-1995), UNC produced men’s open singles’ champions (Bryan Jones, Roland Thornqvist and David Caldwell).  Two straight years (1987-1988), the two-time University of Georgia national champions sent us CVITT top finishers (Lynchburg native Deane Frey and Allen Miller). 

Back-to-back men’s open singles’ titles have been achieved by Presbyterian College, SC product Allen Morris twice (1963-1964 and 1969-1970), Samford (AL) Small College All-American Charlie Owens (1972-1973), Arizona State All-American Randy Vigmostadt (1989-1990), Duke All-American Jeff Hersh (1991-1992) and The Dominican Republic’s Genaro DeLeon (2001-2002).  Rice University star and Lookout Mountain, TN, native Zan Guerry won four consecutive CVITT men’s open singles’ crowns (1977-1978-1979-1980).  Clemson All-American Pender Murphy (from Charlotte, NC), won three straight CVITT men’s open singles’ titles (1983-1984-1985).

          International achievers include: Homer Richards, who won a Wimbledon doubles’ championship with partner Dick Sorlien; Harold Solomon, who was the French Open singles’ finalist (1976); Allen Morris, who was a Wimbledon singles’ quarterfinalist (1956); Tim Wilkison, who was a U.S. Open singles’ quarterfinalist (1986); Gene Russo, who nearly made the doubles’ semifinals at Wimbledon one year; 2006-2007 Oakwood Country Club tennis teaching pro Mark Vines (a Richmond native and an All-American at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas), who owns singles’ victories over international standouts Ivan Lendl and Yannick Noah and staged close battles with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe.  In year 2000, noted  international pro Tom Gullickson  teamed with Oakwood pro  David Leatherwood to win CVITT’s men’s 35’s doubles top honors. 

          The CVITT was designed mainly to promote the success of tennis, especially junior tennis in Lynchburg and in Central Virginia.  Look how many success stories have come for scholastic boys and girls’ championship teams such as E.C. Glass, Heritage, Brookville, Jefferson Forest, Virginia Episcopal School, and others.  The greatest tennis products to come out of Lynchburg since the first CVITT (1961) was played are CVITT champions Bobby Heald, Deane Frey and Kirstein Caister Elim.

The CVITT is a remarkable tourney.  In its first 50 years, this gala event has had remarkable success!  From the very beginning, it has been widely recognized for its hospitality, fun and intense, "high-level" competition.  Community support has been solid and there is no reason to believe Lynchburg's top tennis event won't remain what it has been since the 60's. It is a superbly-run and fabulously-organized United States Tennis Association regional get-together with state, regional, national and international appeal.