The little engine that could, just did! The 4.0 Carefree tennis team captained by Adam Kolenberg won the National Championships in Las Vegas by defeating the southern team from Arkansas by a score of 4-1 in the national finals. The Carefree team, playing out of the Merrick, N.Y. Carefree Racquet Club, capped an unbelievable season that saw them win the Long Island regular season and then go 12-0 in the post season, sweeping the Sectionals in Syracuse, N.Y. and the Nationals in Las Vegas.
No other team from Long Island has even accomplished such a feat and won the National Championship, and no one gave the team from Carefree any sort of chance coming into the season. But unity, above all, carried the team through the highs and lows of the five-plus month season.
Never once did one court matter more than another. Never once did one player matter more than the team. In a sport where individuality is the norm, team unity defines this group of me from Carefree who accomplished what many thought was the unthinkable. Even the men’s wives, starting with co-captain Bonnie Kolenberg and the many more who traveled cross-country to support the team, joined in the amazing dream that became a reality on Oct. 4 at the Darling Tennis Center in Las Vegas. And what started as any other season for an unheralded team from the Eastern Region finished with a big bang. It once again proves that whoever wants can, and whoever believes, wins.
“The National Championships are a funny thing and bittersweet in a way,” said team captain Adam Kolenberg. “Only nine players came to Vegas, but it took all 17 players on our team to win. I wish everyone could have been there to celebrate the win together. This has been a very arduous road to get here, from me tearing my meniscus at the beginning of the season, to Chris Colesanti being sidelined with a back injury, Brian Yegidis tearing up his groin, Danny Calhoun surviving a bad car accident, and RJ Narcisco and James Dell Italia dehydrating at Sectionals. But at the end of the day, this is an adventure that I wouldn’t want to share with anybody else. It’s one thing to achieve personal glory on the courts, it’s something more meaningful to achieve this as a team. We all pulled together to accomplish something that is incredible. The feeling of camaraderie and the friendship that we all share makes this team special. We accomplished something incredible, but more importantly, we created a bond and a special friendship that will long surpass this championship.”
The team joins the Kolenbergs in thanking Carefree Racquet Club and the Long Island tennis community for all their support and well wishes. This was a win for all of us, friends and opponents alike. We’d also like to thank Kathy Miller, manager and friend of Carefree, for all of her support, generosity and undying faith.
And so the little engine that could will now, and for the next 12 months, be 4.0 National Champions!