IronOaks Tennis Players dominate SW Seniors

Denise Lott

IronOaks Tennis Club is home to four of the No. 1 players in the USTA (United States Tennis Association) southwest region comprising Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso. Ranking in their age groups, we have the No. 1 and No. 2 in the 70 age bracket doubles players. Top ranked is Leo Lapane, and his partner Dale Ehrbright is the No. 2 player. In the next age bracket of 75, Mike Bird is No. 1 singles champion. Jack Sanders claims that spot as the No. 1 player in the age 80 bracket. And then we have No. 1 player Len Paulson in the 85 age bracket. These are rolling standing rankings put out by the USTA. Since the 2016 competition is over, these are recorded as the final results for the year.

This is an amazing individual achievement for these players. The fact that they all play out of IronOaks also gives tribute to our other high level players who provide them with the competition they need to prepare for their games.

For Leo Lapane, besides being No. 1 in our region in the age 70 group, he also won the El Paso tournament. He and his partner, Dale, currently rank No. 14 nationally. In addition, Leo is the captain of IronOaks 65+ USTA team. They went to Nationals last year and came in second, missing first place by three points in a third-set tiebreaker.

Mike Bird, our No. 1 in the age 75 bracket, also won the Arizona Senior Olympics in 2016 and will be going to Birmingham this summer to compete on the national level. All players competing there must have ranked either first or second in their state. On the national level, Mike ranks No. 29.

In the 80 age bracket, No. 1 Jack Sanders also won the coveted Gold Ball this past summer by securing a major victory with a first place win at the United States Tennis Association’s National Tournament in Vancouver. This was part of USTA’s Grand Slam series of four Open events—played on grass, clay, indoors and outdoors. The Vancouver section was played indoors. Jack has a USTA ranking of No. 8 nationally for singles and No. 2 for doubles.

Len Paulson represents our 85+ age group and is undefeated in Arizona. Nationally he rates No. 7 for singles and No. 15 for doubles.

It is an honor to have all of these players involved with the IronOaks Tennis Club as they travel throughout the country claiming their victories and bringing recognition to our club.