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Sep 29, 2017

Colts Neck Cougars Tennis Goes National

Have you heard of the Colts Neck Cougars? No, not the local high school football team. Nope, not the high school baseball team, either. We’re talking about a group of 16 Colts Neck moms! That’s right, these Colts Neck Cougar moms are on their way to represent the Eastern Region, ladies’ level 3.0, aged 40 and over, at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  There are 900,000 registrations in the USTA League and only 6,000 make it to a national championship.

Based out of the Colts Neck Racquet Club, these ladies have been playing tennis together for several years. What started out for many as a way to get out of the house and make some friends has turned into a lifelong passion. Through hard work and perseverance, this team has advanced to the ultimate level of competition. Lead singles player Jen Mayrose proclaimed, “I am so proud to be part of this special team.” Team captain Dana Donohue believes what makes their team so successful is their work hard, play hard philosophy. “When we step on the courts, we give 110% and always play to win. However, we are friends first.  We enjoy our girls’ nights out and tennis weekends. It’s important not to take ourselves too seriously; it’s all about balance.”

How did they do it? After placing first in Monmouth County during their regular USTA season, the Cougars advanced to Regionals in Plainfield, NJ. Once again, the Cougars came out on top and advanced to Sectionals in Albany, NY. “I’m so excited to go to Albany and represent New Jersey,” exclaimed co-captain Sue Connery.  Supported by family and friends, these ladies were ready to give it their all at Sectionals. Juggling responsibilities at home required all Cougar families to pitch in to make the trip upstate possible.

The Cougars had five matches in three days and competed against teams from New York City, Long Island, Buffalo, and Saratoga.  “Tennis is like a poker game” said Maria Calabro. “Find your opponents’ weaknesses and focus on your strengths.” It was an emotionally and physically grueling three days. “Tears were shed, but there were definitely more laughs than anything else. I feel like I am in a sorority,” said Krista Dibsie. The ultimate example of sportsmanship was exhibited by Amy Chrebet, said Dana Donohue. An early season injury precluded Amy from qualifying for Sectionals, but she made the trip to Albany to support her teammates while wearing the team uniform on the sidelines.

After an exhausting tiebreaker match, Jenn Buckwald and Tricia Wilson hopped in their car, still sweaty and in their tennis clothes, to meet their families for a white water rafting camping trip. “We wouldn’t miss this experience and let our teammates down,” said Jenn.

All eyes were on these Jersey girls dressed in Nike Volt, and they were the team to beat. It came down to the final match…and the Colts Neck Cougars Won! The team is now preparing to represent the Eastern Region of the United States at the USTA National Championship in October, where they will compete against teams from Texas, Hawaii, California, Missouri, Mid-West, and the Caribbean. Go, Cougars!