HARRISON, N.Y. – The Rye Racquet Club in Harrison has enjoyed a period of great success in the past several years, and that run continued in 2012.
The three women’s doubles tennis teams at the club swept their respective divisions in the Metropolitan Interclub Tennis League for the fourth time in the history of the Rye Racquet Club. They also accomplished the feat in 2005, 2008 and 2010.
The club has teams in the A, B and C divisions of the MITL. All three teams are in Flight 1, the highest level in the league. The A division has four flights overall, while B has seven.
The A and C teams each won their divisions by one point this season.
Women from as young as 30 to as old as their mid-50s participate on the teams. The season runs from May to June.
The Rye Racquet Club focuses solely on tennis, which club owner Kit Byron said separates it from country clubs that offer a wide variety of sports. That intensity, he said, has led to the teams’ success in the past seven years.
“They come specifically to Rye Racquet Club for this,” said Byron, who coaches all three teams. “We’re an indoor and outdoor tennis club. We’re not a country club. Rye Racquet Club specifically is known for good competition and teams, and people gravitate there for that reason.”
Carolyn Cruz, director of tennis and operations and captain of the A team, said Byron’s coaching strategy has also contributed largely to the club’s success.
“He treats them as athletes. The training is very specific. It’s serious,” Cruz said. “We have fun, as well, but he realizes most of the women playing are mothers and have families. We take that into account as well.”
The women compete against other club teams in Westchester County, and Cruz said the farthest opponent is usually in Mount Kisco or Sleepy Hollow. Most of the opponents come from the Sound area.
Byron said the women of the past two generations have become much more athletic and taken up sports, spinning classes and other activities. He tries to foster continuity on the teams and craft partnerships among the doubles partners that can grow through time.
Cruz said the teams give the women a chance to channel those athletic talents.
“I think it’s nice for the women here because it’s something they can do even though they have families,” Cruz said. “It’s something they can do for themselves. I think it’s a great outlet for the women on the team.”
Here are the rosters for the three winning teams:
Marcia Pflug, Joy Cummiskey, Corinna Bode, Carolyn Cruz (captain), Kathrin Blanch, Eileen O'Connor, Carol Chirico, Tracy Eck, Rebecca Stiritz, Carrie Rabuse, Hiromi Inagawa
Lynn Flynn, Nancy Ozizmir, Polly Edwards, Stefani Shavel (captain), Suzanne Schnitta (co-captain), Susan (Chung) Choo, Debbie Abrams, Connie Maria Sobrino, Kate Jennings
Tamae Miyoshi, Deirdre Ragusa, Young Kim (captain), Eileen Riemerschmid, Christine Rizk, Paula Lapkin, Kaoru Onozawa, Andrea Hessekiel, Chizu Mendoza, Yuko Takahashi