Players enjoy first year of Apple Blossom Festival tennis tourney

Bridget Defoe, of Winchester, holds her trophy after winning the women's 3.0 singles event in the Stonebrook Club & Apple Blossom Festival Amateur Tennis Tournament held in Winchester on Saturday and Sunday. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily


WINCHESTER — Kathy Myers has always wanted to combine two of her biggest passions and this weekend she did.

Myers, Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival vice president, played in the first-ever Stonebrook Club & Apple Blossom Festival Amateur Tennis Tournament sponsored by Partlow Insurance, which is part of this year’s Apple Blossom Festival. Myers was also the tournament coordinator of the two-day event.

“As a big tennis enthusiast and an Apple Blossom lover, to me it was just a natural combination of putting the event together and giving the Bloom one more event to offer,” Myers said on Sunday afternoon.

The tournament, which was held at Stonebrook Club in Winchester, was a U.S. Tennis Association sanctioned event and was open to all USTA members.

The tournament was divided into 10 different events. There were events for singles, men’s and women’s doubles as well as two mixed doubles events. The divisions were based on USTA skill levels, except for one men’s open division.

Howard Mercer, of Bluemont, left, and Pamela Ryon, of Warrenton, pose with their trophies after winning the mixed 4.0 doubles event in the Stonebrook Club & Apple Blossom Festival Amateur Tennis Tournament held in Winchester on Saturday and Sunday. Tommy Keeler Jr/Daily

Myers said they put flyers out at different clubs throughout the area, and with it being a USTA event many people found out about it through the USTA website. She said there were players from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and throughout Virginia.

Howard Mercer, of Bluemont, and Pamela Ryon, of Warrenton, won the mixed 4.0 doubles. Ryon said that she found out about the tournament on the USTA website.

“I was researching USTA tournaments in the area, which there were not very many in recent years,” Ryon said. “I saw this tournament. I did not actually realize that it was the first one. So it’s been a terrific tournament. It’s been well run, and I’m excited to come back next year.”

Myers said she heard a lot of positive feedback and many were happy to have a USTA tournament in the area, because there aren’t many held in the area.

Myers said there were 53 people in the tournament and almost half of them were in two events.

Katrina Tiedeman, of Romney, West Virginia, left, and Peggy O'Connell, of Stephens City, pose with their trophies after winning the women's 4.0 doubles event in the Stonebrook Club & Apple Blossom Festival Amateur Tennis Tournament. Tiedeman also won the women's 4.0 singles event. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

Bridget DeFoe, of Winchester, won the women’s 3.0 singles title. She beat her doubles partner Elizabeth Minicucci, of High View, West Virginia, in the singles final.

“It was fun playing with such a close friend,” DeFoe said. “It was competitive, but yet a friendly atmosphere and it’s a good time all around.”

DeFoe and Minicucci also advanced to the semifinals in the women’s 3.0 doubles.

Cost was $40 for the first event a player entered, and then $20 more if a player entered a second event. Players were only allowed to enter two events.

Every registered player received a gift bag, which included an event shirt. Division winners received a trophy. One male player and one female player will be selected to ride in the Apple Blossom Grand Feature Parade on Saturday.

Keith St. Germain, of Paris, left, and Carter Dale, of Middleburg, with their trophies after winning the men's 4.5 doubles event. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

The format for matches was best-2-out-of-3. However, if there were split sets a super tiebreaker was played instead of a third set. The matches were also timed, with a 90-minute time limit. Myers said next year they plan to get rid of the time limit, and may consider having it over the course of three days instead of two.

Myers also played in the event and lost in the women’s 3.0 doubles final with her doubles partner, Mary Saunders, of Stephens City, to Niki Gerhard and Maggie Major, both of Winchester.

Roosevelt Cooper, of Washington D.C., won the Men’s Open final. In the women’s 4.0 doubles division, Peggy O’Connell, of Stephens City, and Katrina Tiedeman, of Romney, West Virginia, won the women’s 4.0 doubles.

Joan Cestaro and Gera Mort, both of Winchester, won the women’s 3.5 doubles crown. Michael Bosshard, of Winchester, won the men’s 3.5 singles final.

Carter Dale, of Middleburg, and Keith St. Germain, of Paris, won the men’s 4.5 doubles. Catherine Bowen and Craig Jones, both of Leesburg, won the mixed 3.5 doubles title.

Niki Gerhard, left, and Maggie Major, both of Winchester, pose with their trophies after winning the women's 3.0 doubles event. Tommy Keeler Jr./Daily

There was one final held on Saturday. Tiedeman won the women’s singles 4.0 title.

Myers said they definitely plan to do it next year and look forward to the tournament growing. She said Stonebrook Club was very happy to host the tournament this year.

“Everybody was just so cooperative and just wanting to promote tennis, which is what it’s all about,” Myers said. “Let’s just get them in the game and give them an outlet to play locally.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com