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Local Report

Southern Oregon University Tennis Coach Gail Patton is the Pacific Northwest regional recipient of two honors from the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).

Patton, who has coached SOU women's tennis since 1999, won the organizations' community service and campus recreation awards, and was the only coach in the country to win both awards.

The USTA award recognized Patton for her seven years of running a USTA-sponsored summer junior team tennis tournament in Ashland for novice and intermediate level players. Teams as far away as Coos Bay travel to compete against teams from Ashland, Medford, Grants Pass and Roseburg. For many of these players, its their first competitive tennis experience.

Patton ran a free after-school tennis program at Helman School in Ashland and conducted a school day assembly, and a series of after school tennis assemblies at Medford elementary schools to promote tennis to area youth.

The ITA award recognized Patton for introducing intramural team-tennis to SOU and to offer free Friday afternoon tennis to all students, faculty and staff. She also has organized and teaches adult group tennis lessons through the Ashland Parks and Recreation Department.

In addition, her tennis teams have provided free tennis clinics to local school children. As a board member of STAY (Supporters of Tennis for Ashland Youth), she has been instrumental in supporting tennis opportunities for all youth, including the Ashland High boys and girls tennis teams and the SOU women's program.

"Tennis is my passion and I often feel that I get back more than I give," said Patton of her awards. "But it is always nice to be recognized and I am excited about winning the awards."

Both the USTA and ITA awards honor coaches for significant contributions in developing community-based tennis programs and recognizes coaches who have helped increase tennis participation with the campus community.

Kendell Erb, a 12-year-old from Lone Pine Elementary, won the girls' 12-to-13-year-old division of the Elks' "Hoop Shoot" free-throw contest recently, making 20 of 25 shots.

Erb, a sixth-grader, made the most free throws in the tournament. David DeCoste, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Griffin Creek Elementary, made 19 of 25 to win the boys' 12-13.

Grace Christian Elementary's Chad Morse, 9, won the boys' 10-11 division by making 12 of 25 free throws and Rose Alvarez, 10, of Sacred Heart Elementary, made 14 of 25 to win the girls' 10-11 division.

Travis Bonney, a 9-year-old from Shady Cove Elementary, made 11 of 25 to claim first in the boys' 8-9 division and Shady Cove's Kirsten Pariani, 9, made 15 of 25 to win the girls' division.

Taking second in the boys' 12-13 was Harvest Baptist's Isaiah Luzruy and for the girls was Michelle Kinney of Grace Christian.

Conner Vinyard of Sacred Heart took second in the boys' 10-11 and Courtney Setzer, also of Sacred Heart, took second for the girls.

Wyatt Latham and Destiny Fahndrich took second in the 8-9 boys' and girls' divisions, respectively.