“We have seen consistent demand across Florida for more open, recreational formats of play,” said USTA Florida Associate Executive Director Andy McFarland. “The new USTA Florida Team Tennis Challenges offer fewer restrictions, allowing more teams to participate. They also give players who are not yet USTA members the opportunity to experience our events and programs, while offering a clear value proposition for our junior members.”
To participate in the State Team Tennis Challenge, teams must have a minimum of two boys and two girls and no more than eight players per team. Age divisions include 12U, 14U, 16U, and 18U, and there are three skill divisions: novice, intermediate and advanced, with short-set scoring utilized.
Participation is limited, and USTA Florida strongly encourages coaches to register teams early to ensure their place in this landmark event.
More info, including a link to register, is online at www.USTAFlorida.com/teamtennischallenges. You can also connect with USTA Florida via Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #BYOTeamTennis.
All Stars Synchro is a competitive traveling synchronized swim team that has been very successful in its two years under the leadership of Head Coach Yamilet Alvarez, who resides in Hialeah. The age range is 10-17.
During the Association Championships in Sarasota, Limaris Ayala of Hialeah and Estela Suarez were third in duets, qualifying for regionals in the 13-15 age group.
At the regional event, five qualified for nationals including Liana Ayala of Hialeah who outdid herself by winning the bronze medal on all her routines (Solo, Trio, Team) in the 11-12 age group. Carolina Maeso of Miami Lakes placed Top 8 in Florida in the Figures competition, age 11-12. She also won the bronze medal in her Team Routine, called Gagnam Style.
All Stars Synchro has been invited to several competitions within the state and abroad: Gainesville, Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Ohio and Texas.
Last year, 49 synchro clubs from around the nation competed at nationals in Oxford, Ohio including All Stars Synchro. Nearly the entire team qualified for nationals in just its first year. The All Stars Synchro 16-19 duets placed third in the nation, and the 11-12 soloist was 21st. The 11-12 age group team placed 17th, and the 16-19 team finished 10th.
Hialeah’s Silvia Espinosa, a.k.a. Linda, mainly trains the 11-12-year-old girls in the Intermediate and Age Gourp levels. She is originally from Cuba and represented its national team. She started doing synchro at age 7 and made the national team at age 10. She trained for 1 1/2 years in Colombia, three months in Curacao and three years in the United States. When she was 30, she retired from synchro and went into coaching. She’s been training girls for 17 years.
Hialeah’s Yamilet Alvarez is the head coach and president of All Stars Synchro. She is also originally from Cuba, and she was trained there by Espinosa. She’s been doing synchro for 30 years. She was on the Cuban national team for seven years. She earned the bronze medal in Figures at the Pan American Games. She took gold in the Central American event.
In 2009, Alvarez won the gold medal in Figures at the Masters Championship. She performed for Ivanna Trump, and her latest show was at the El Ritz Carlson Hotel in Grand Cayman Island.