USTA New England Celebrates 2015 Awards Winners at Luncheon
2015 USTA New England award winners were celebrated on January 9 in Marlborough, MA.
By James Maimonis
Communications and Engagement Coordinator
MARLBOROUGH, MA- USTA New England celebrated its 2015 award winners on Saturday, January 9 at a beautiful luncheon at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough, MA. Nearly 160 award winners, family members, friends, board members and staff enjoyed a three-course meal and raffle drawings that included a pair of US Open tickets.
WBZ-TV news anchor and guest emcee Chris McKinnon entertained the crowd with his charming personality and subtle tennis humor while USTA New England President and CEO Scott Steinberg was on hand to honor the winners.
“Our award winners exemplify the very best of tennis in New England, and we are so proud of each of their remarkable efforts on and of the court in 2015,” Steinberg said.
“It was our pleasure to celebrate these wonderful people at our annual Awards Ceremony. To have so many family members and friends supporting in attendance truly shows what tremendous people they are outside the tennis world as well. These are the people who continuously carry out our mission, ‘To Promote and Develop the Growth of Tennis.’”
USTA New England presented 33 awards to junior and adult players, coaches, contributors and organizations and also recognized 74 volunteers for their outstanding long-term service, ranging from 5 to 50 years.
Peter Francesconi, editorial director of Tennis Industry magazine, also presented three of the magazine’s national “Champions of Tennis” awards to deserving New Englanders.
Among the award winners in attendance was Avis R. Murray, of Gloucester, MA, who was honored with the Gardner Ward Chase Memorial Award. The award is given to an individual who has made outstanding lifetime contributions to tennis in New England and is the highest honor an individual can receive from USTA New England.
“Having looked over the list of individuals who’ve received this prestigious award from 1953 on, I feel honored and humbled, as so many of them are mentors and people I’ve looked up to and are wonderful role models, so to receive this prestigious award meant a lot to me and made me emotional,” Murray said following the ceremony.
Murray has been teaching tennis for 44 years and has served on numerous USTA and USPTA boards and committees. She is a member of both the USTA New England Hall of Fame and the Gloucester High School Athletic Hall of Fame and had the courts at Manchester Athletic Club named after her for her years of service.
“It’s just refreshing to be here with all these wonderful people that contribute so much to the game and the growth of tennis in new England and all over the world,” Murray added.
The Panarese Family, from Milton, MA, was honored as the Edwin Goodman Family of the Year. The award is given to the USTA New England family that, as a group, has contributed the most to tennis in New England.
USTA New England recognized Sportsmen’s Tennis and Enrichment Center as the Organization of the Year. Sportsmen’s is located in Dorchester, MA and is one of the most decorated clubs in New England for its tireless work in the Boston community. The club offers free and low-cost programs and access to its facilities on a regular basis, works thoroughly with the Boston Public Schools and their tennis programs, and most importantly, serves as a home for children to enjoy a safe, healthy and enjoyable environment.
Julia Nojeim, of Marion, MA, was one of eight Junior Sportsmanship Award winners. Nojeim took home the Girls 18 and Under award for her positive attitude on the court, constant respect for opponents and impeccable character.
“It was a huge honor and very humbling for sure, and it’s nice to celebrate with so many other great award winners and to see the many opportunities, from volunteering to setting up local programs, that USTA New England has to offer,” Nojeim said. “It came as a big surprise to me because I don’t really think about acting differently on the court, so it’s a true honor to be recognized for being yourself.”
Todd Martin, a former World No. 4 ranked player and current CEO of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, handed out the Junior Sportsmanship Awards. Martin was also the winner of the 1993 and 1994 ATP World Tour Sportsmanship Awards.
Girls 18 and Under Sportsmanship Award winner Julia Nojeim is pictured with Todd Martin (left) and Scott Steinberg (right).
Other Junior Sportsmanship Award winners included: Prem Dave, Boys 12 and Under (Norwalk, CT); Ashleigh Parlman, Girls 12 and Under (Acton, MA); Derek Shen, Boys 14 and Under (Chestnut Hill, MA); Sarah Campbell, Girls 14 and Under (Sudbury, MA); Aaron Pezzullo, Boys 16 and Under (Woodbury, CT); Sydney Weinberg, Girls 16 and Under (Winchester, MA); and Benjamin Lebowitz, Boys 18 and Under (Boston, MA).
Art Goldblatt of Norwalk, CT, won the William Freedman Award for his outstanding contribution to the development of junior tennis throughout his career. Goldblatt created Norwalk Grassroots Tennis, an organization committed to providing children with opportunities to learn and play the game of tennis.
Michelle Brown, of Acton, MA and Bill Romond, of Colchester, VT, took home the League Captain of the Year awards for exemplary leadership, sportsmanship and enthusiasm to their teams and to the USTA League program.
John Austin was honored as the Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) Pro of the Year, an award given to a professional who has given back to the PTR in a tremendous way. John is the Director of Tennis at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, a passionate tennis player and coach and a former No. 40 ranked player in the world.
Seven outstanding individuals were also recognized as their State Association’s Volunteer of the Year for their constant dedication to growing the game of tennis in their local communities. The award recipients are: John Salemme, Eastern Massachusetts (Brant Rock); Melissa Baron, Western Massachusetts (Lenox); Steven Cutone, Maine (Kennebunkport); Bob Ronstadt, New Hampshire (Gilmanton); Vidith Huot, Rhode Island (Providence); Chris Hadjimichael, Connecticut (West Haven); and Kenneth Schoen, Vermont (Lincoln).
Peter Francesconi presented three worthy recipients with Tennis Industry magazine’s national awards. The winners included: David Colby, Manchester, MA (Youth Tennis Provider of the Year), Phil Parrish, Wayland, MA (Junior Tennis Champion of the Year) and Peter Igo Park, Marshfield MA (Public Park of the Year).
“We gave out 21 total awards nationally and three were from the New England section, so what a tremendous accomplishment for the section,” Francesconi said.
Find the complete list of award winners here.
Check out photos from the event on our Facebook page.
Guests enjoyed a beautiful luncheon at the Courtyard by Marriott in Marlborough, MA.