LIMA – Sunday’s finals of the Lima Area Tennis Association doubles tournament featured two instructor/athlete combinations.
For several years, Jeff Brown – a former University of Northwestern Ohio standout and now tennis director at Westwood Tennis and Fitness Center – has been working with Shawnee’s Michael Rutter.
Rutter, who recently graduated from Shawnee after an illustrious tennis career, teamed up with his instructor at this weekend’s City Doubles tournament at the University of Northwestern Ohio.
In Sunday’s finals, Rutter and Brown knocked off the defending City champions, Chris England and Jeff Arthur 6-3, 6-3.
It was a special moment for Brown.
“It’s fun. … Just watching the growth and development out of his (Rutter’s) game over the past four or five years – where he was a young kid, chest high to me,” Brown said. “But, he’s come a long way. I was very fortunate to work with him. He’s a heck of a kid. It was just good to get out there and play doubles with him. I’m a perfectionist on the court and he knows that. He looked a little tight in the beginning, but he started to gel as the match went on.”
While at Shawnee, Rutter teamed up with Isaac Hanover his junior and senior years and they went to the state tournament in doubles both those years.
“It’s just really nice to play with him, because you only have to worry about yourself,” Rutter said about Brown. “He’s such a perfectionist on the court. It’s fun playing with him.”
Brown’s wife – Andrea Arango-Brown – teamed up with her student, Lima Central Catholic junior Olivia Kesner this weekend. Arango-Brown also is a tennis instructor at Westwood.
In Sunday’s championship match, Arango-Brown and Kesner defeated sisters Mackenzie and Miranda Wills, of Ada, 6-2, 6-2 to win the title.
Arango-Brown has worked with Kesner on her game. This past season at LCC, Kesner made it to the district tournament and was one match away from qualifying for the state tournament.
Sunday marked the first time Kesner has won a City Doubles title.
“She’s a great player,” Kesner said about Arango-Brown. “She kind of keeps me calm and relaxed. Each point that I miss, she says ‘It’s alright. The next one – you got it’. She’s always encouraging me. She’s a great instructor. I know she’s there to help me along the way.”
This was the first time that Arango-Brown and Kesner have teamed up in the City Doubles tournament. Arango-Brown has notched three City Doubles titles in her career.
“It was very exciting,” Arango-Brown said. “We probably play together three times a week. We know each other’s game, and it was great playing with her for the first time (in doubles). Hopefully, we will play more in summer tournaments.”
In Sunday’s men’s consolation finals, John Schleh and James Schleh defeated Jeff Adkins and Austin Hancock 6-2, 6-2.
In the women’s consolation finals, Julianna Hotmire and Alotus Wei defeated Kenzie Schroeder and Kassie Hill 6-4, 6-0.