| By Jacki Binder

More than 350 dignitaries, tennis enthusiasts and USTA members turned out for the Long Island Region’s 20th Annual Awards Dinner, the region’s largest-ever dinner held May 12 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The event’s theme, “Tennis … Growth Through Diversity,” celebrated the many accomplishments of the Nassau and Suffolk tennis communities both on and off the court, as evidenced by the achievements of the evening’s award winners.

USTA/Eastern/Long Island Region President Scott Axler welcomed the crowd and remembered how the Region’s Awards Dinner started two decades ago with just a few people at a restaurant, and today, has grown to several hundred attendees. Dignitaries in attendance included D.A. Abrams, executive director of the USTA’s Eastern Section, and Dr. Calvin O. Butts, president of SUNY College at Old Westbury and senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, who offered opening remarks. Keynote Speaker Ronald Agenor, “the Haitian Sensation,” discussed his nearly two-decades-long professional career. A former top-20 player, Agenor has defeated Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Yannick Noah and many more. Long a strong advocate on behalf of his home nation of Haiti, Agenor has, since January, been working hard to help the Haitian people rebuild and move forward after their catastrophic earthquake.

The awards ceremony recognized many of the Long Island tennis world’s luminaries. The top-ranked Long Island region adult tennis players received trophies. These included, Adam Kolenberg of Carefree Racquet Club in Merrick, who won the Nationals in the Men’s 4.0 category, and Gina Marie McNulty, who won the National Women’s 5.0 category. Additional prizes were awarded to the top-ranked juniors, as well as the Nassau and Suffolk County and State Champion high school tennis players.

The following received special awards:

►Daniel Burgess of Freeport, director of tennis at Point Set Racquet Club in Oceanside Arthur Ashe Multi-Cultural Award

►William Mecca of Garden City Vitas Gerulaitis for the Love of Tennis Award

►Robbie Wagner of Glen Cove, founder and director of the Robbie Wagner Tennis Tournament Training Center Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award

►Huntington’s Scott Axler Madeline Zausner Tournament Director of the Year

►97-year-old Charles Hurme of Huntington Station Tennis Player of the Year

►Jack Gearns of Garden City and 17-year-old Jasmine Arama of North Woodmere Charles Karp Memorial Award for Overcoming Adversity

The Long Island Region wishes to thank the following for their hard work and efforts to make the 20th Annual Awards Dinner a huge success: Region President Scott Axler and the Region Board; dinner chairperson and emcee Daniel Burgess and event coordinator Marian Morris; entertainers Mamafunk and the Mudcats; dinner program producer Long Island Tennis Magazine; TV Channel 55; Gary Battle, event photographer and videographer; and the many corporate sponsors and prize donors, as well as those who supported the event through their purchase of journal ads and raffle tickets.

Scenes From the USTA/Eastern/Long Island Region 20th Annual Awards Dinner
May 12 at the Crest Hollow Country Club
























































































































Jacki Binder

<p>Jacki Binder is a USTA/Long Island board member. She may be reached by e-mail at <a href="mailto:jacki.binder@gmail.com">jacki.binder@gmail.com</a>.</p>