LIMA – For Mary Lou Roush, the Lima Area Tennis Association’s annual tennis tournaments have been on her schedule for many years.
This weekend, Roush is back to play in the LATA mixed doubles tournament, making it her 44th consecutive year playing in the Lima City Tournament.
The 69-year-old Roush is teamed up with area attorney Brad Kelley, who has played with Roush many times in the annual event.
This LATA Mixed Doubles Tournament has three brackets – the mixed doubles, the combined 70 years-and-over (mixed doubles) bracket and the juniors (singles) draw.
The 70-and-over bracket is a round-robin setup. Roush and Kelley played two matches Saturday in that bracket – the first day of the tournament – and will play one final match today, when all action resumes at 10 a.m. at the University of Northwestern Ohio Tennis Courts.
Roush is retired from Ohio State University-Lima, where she worked in the education department.
Roush has played in the Lima City Tournaments for over four decades. Nothing has held her back from competing.
“I played in 1974 up through now, which is 44 years,” Roush said. “One year Susan Fantz and I played when we were pregnant. That was in 1979 – and we won. I think they were afraid to hit the ball at us since we were pregnant.”
Roush said the setup of the City Tournament was totally different in the early days.
“We used to play at 12:30 for singles (tournament), 2:30 was doubles, and 4:30 was mixed doubles. We would play at Stadium Court (by Spartan Stadium). They used to video from the top of the stadium and show it on the evening news,” she said.
Saturday, Roush teamed up with her usual partner, 66-year-old Brad Kelley. Roush and Kelley defeated the duo of Vaune Glorioso and Ron Huber in their first match, 6-1, 6-2. In Saturday’s second match, Roush and Kelley lost a tough battle to Steve Honigford and Kassie Hill 2-6, 6-4(4-10).
Today at 10 a.m. Roush and Kelley will take on Jeff Arthur and Jeanna Haggard in their final match of the round-robin tournament. Arthur and Haggard won both of their matches on Saturday.
The championship match of the mixed doubles bracket will feature some familiar names.
This year’s City Singles men’s champion, John Kidd, teamed up with longtime tennis standout Diane French this weekend. Kidd and French lost just two games total in their two matches Saturday, en route to today’s title matchup against Andrea Arango-Brown and Isaac Hanover.
This weekend marks the first time that Kidd and French have paired up for mixed doubles action.
“She asked me to play the previous two years and it just didn’t coordinate with my schedule,” Kidd said. “Then this year, it ended up working out.”
The 25-year-old Kidd is a former multi-sport standout at Lima Central Catholic and tennis standout at the University of Findlay. Kidd won this year’s LATA singles championship (June 23-24).
French has been playing in a lot of tennis tournaments with her son Brandon French, who was a former tennis standout at LCC. Brandon is now a lawyer in Dallas.
“I play mostly national tournaments with my son,” French said. “We’re currently ranked third in the nation in the USTA Mother/Son Division.
“I usually play with my son, but he’s playing in a golf tournament right now. So, we (Kidd and I) decided it would be a good thing to join up together; and hopefully we’ll do well.”
Kidd and French’s opponents in today’s finals – Andrea Arango-Brown and Isaac Hanover – have both played in big matches.
In this year’s LATA doubles tournament (June 30-July 1), Arango-Brown teamed up with Lima Central Catholic junior Olivia Kesner to win the title. Hanover, a recent Shawnee grad, played twice in the state tennis tournament in doubles.
In today’s finals of the junior draw, Gabe Burke will take on Mason Stahl for the title.