The Vermont Senior Games hosted the annual doubles portion of its tennis tournament over the weekend of August 14 – 15, 2021 at the beautiful Quechee Club. Not only did the players get to enjoy the terrific venue, but the weather was just about perfect for both the Mixed Doubles on Saturday and the Men’s and Women’s Doubles on Sunday.
Saturday’s play featured two brackets of pairings, with the 50 – 69 – year – old teams facing off and the 70-plus players engaging in their own round-robin.
At the conclusion of play, two couples emerged undefeated. Margaret Limoge of Winooski partnered with Jim Taggart from Wallingford to triumph in the younger age group, although the tennis was competitive for sure. Over the half-dozen matches played, the largest margin was a 6-2 set. South Burlington’s Julie and Dave Reville finished second in the standings among these teams, earning their own gold medals for the 60 – 64 – year – old age group.
Among the players 70 – plus, Valentina and Eugene Demikenko earned the top spot, as the Norwich couple lost only four games over four matches (although they were playing 4-game ‘short sets.’) Another South Burlington team, Allyson Bolduc and Bob Kesner, also played strong tennis, winning three of their four matches.
The Women’s Doubles on Sunday produced some of the longest matches of the entire tournament, with 20 – shot rallies the norm, not the exception, in many face – offs. The youngest pair in the draws, Wendy Watson from Montpelier and Michelle Cannon of South Burlington, were the one team to avoid lengthy stretches on the court, playing a real power game to win their two contests by a combined 16 – 4 score in the 50 – 64 – age – grouping.
However, the three teams comprised of 65 to 74 – year – olds engaged in some serious marathons. The opening match began at noon, pitting southeastern Vermont’s Joan Weir and Susan Madrigan against a new partnership, Deborah Larkin from North Pownal and Helga Immerfall of South Burlington. It certainly set the tone for this bracket. It took more than 90 minutes for Madrigan and Weir to win an 8-game ‘short’ set that was short in name only! The women from the SE won their second match in similar fashion over the northern Vermont duo of Pat Sabalis (Underhill) and Sherry Hadden (Fairfax). By the time Larkin and Immerfall concluded the afternoon with yet another incredibly hard-fought win, it was past 4:30 pm – four and a half hours to play three matches! Those present very much appreciated these women’s stellar play.
On the men’s side, to no one’s surprise Hugh Garavan and Jerry Knickerbocker from the Burlington Tennis Club (also the youngest players in the event) took the gold for ages 50 – 54, but their older peers made them work for it! Every other player in this bracket was between ages 60 – 64, and it was so evenly-matched that those three pairs split their matches and compromised the tiebreakers. At the end of the day, all three teams earned gold medals.
In the other men’s matchups, two Chittenden County players, Greg Dana and Eric Griffin, took both their tilts to claim the title in the 65 – 69 category, while Scott Brohinsky from Brownsville and Wayland, Massachusetts native Dave McNeff teamed up to go unbeaten among the 70 + players.
Overall, despite several late cancellations, a total of 63 players participated in the tournament over the three days – ten of those played in two of the events, and kudos to Middlebury’s Victoria Luksch, who earned a gold medal in singles and followed that up with a pair of silvers in doubles.
Thanks so much to the Burlington Tennis Club and the Quechee Club for hosting the Vermont Senior Games, and to sports coordinator Karen Didricksen of USTA for organizing play.
Complete doubles results can be found here:
Make sure to check out the great collection of photos from the tennis courts!