Guest blog by Erin Fouty, Tournament Director of the 2015 Midwest Wheelchair Championships, and Alicia Hass, Coordinator, Mary Free Bed Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports
The beautiful facilities at MVP-Crahen were once again host to the Midwest Wheelchair Tennis Championships held July 10-12, 2015. Nearly 80 athletes from around the world traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich., to participate in all levels of play, from beginner to professional.
Players have offered positive feedback on everything from the delicious food, to the help and efficiency of transportation volunteers.
New this year were perpetual trophies, with each cup named in honor of a person who has been instrumental in the pioneering or progression of our program, team and/or tournament.
All of the open divisions featured tough, 3-set matches in the finals with all 3 titles captured by Americans.
In the Mens’ Open Division, Jon Rydberg successfully defended his title over first seed, Satoshi Saida of Japan.
Emmy Kaiser won her 7th title in a row at Grand Rapids over Miho Nijo of Japan.
Bryan Barten was taken to a third set by Canadian Gary Luker.
Hometown champions included Womens’ A champion Beth Redford, of Grand Rapids, over her teammate and doubles partner, Valerie Wallace, of Rockford. Beth and Valerie captured the Womens’ A doubles championship in a close 3-set match. David Briggs, of Grand Rapids, won the Mens’ C division and Suzi Kluting of Coopersville won the Novice division.
The tournament was blessed with beautiful, sunny weather, so the addition of new shade awnings this
year was a bonus. This year, we prioritized meeting the dietary requests and restrictions of our
athletes. Our caterer proved up to the task of satisfying both the needs and appetites of our players with generous, delicious meals.
Our transportation department added a third van, donated by Clock Conversions, which helped keep things running smoothly between the airport, hotels and tennis courts. The gift of our very own umpire chairs is something we’ll use for many years to come, saving us the expense of annually renting chairs.
There are many people who helped to make the weekend a success. Our tireless and always-cheerful Mary Free Bed interns helped with set-up, organized the Friday night player dinner, stuffed player gift bags, cleaned nightly, served meals and kept players supplied with water and Gatorade throughout the weekend.
Our tournament staff were excellent and knowledgeable: Duy Tran (match schedule), Peter Chen (referees), Jennie Wassenaar (transportation), Charles Phelps (ball runners), Carolyn Avery and Cathy Glonek (registration) and Julie Kienast (prize money).
These are the people that make it happen!
See photos from the tournament via the Mary Free Bed Flickr page. (All images by Mary Free Bed photographer Tony Norkus.)