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October 10, 2008

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Criminal Justice Professor Leads Tennis Team to National Competition

Hart and the tennis team with a recent trophy

Hart (second row center) holds a recent trophy the tennis team has won. Below, members practice.

Dr. Barbara Hart, associate professor of criminal justice at The University of Texas at Tyler, is guilty of liking tennis.

Although she mainly plays for recreation, she takes the game very seriously, and she will lead a team to national competition this year.

The Tyler Tennis and Swim Club’s 3.5 Senior Women’s team won the United States Tennis Association sectional competition in New Braunfels last month. The team will travel to Indian Wells, Calif. Oct. 23 to represent the Lone Star State in the national championships. 

The team credits their success to Hart’s leadership and decision making, however Hart gives full credit to the “good team spirit and camaraderie” her teammates have demonstrated during the practices and competitions.

“This team had won the local Northeast Texas league earlier this year,” said Hart. “All of us come from different backgrounds and different vocations. Most are proud grandmothers as well as educators, and other professionals, joining together in a sport we love.”

According to USTA rankings, 3.5 is about average level, while beginnings would be ranked at 2.5, and 5.0 is for the professional level.

At the state tournament, the 3.5 level saw 16 teams competing in four flights from different areas of Texas. Hart's team became state champions by defeating the San Antonio women’s team 3-0 in the semifinals and Austin 3-0 in the finals.

 Tennis team members practicing                        

“Even though the team was undefeated, the road to victory was paved with many nail biting matches, with 13 of the 15 lines played involving first or third set tie-breakers,” added Hart.

Other team members include Dorothy Peterson (CPA), Gaynelle Straley (retired Tyler Independent School District instructor), Sylvia Jeter (homemaker – originally from England), Patricia Jacks (All Saints Episcopal School administrator), Connie McMillan (homemaker) and Judy Hayes (oncology counselor) of Tyler; Pat Martin All Saints Episcopal math instructor) and Jane Adams (All Saints Episcopal art instructor) of Bullard; and Martha Thompson (Harmony ISD physical education instructor) of Big Sandy.

I’ve played most of my adult life. It keeps you active, and it’s a great life-long sport,” she said. “You can play while you are a little kid all the way until you are a grandma!”   

For more information about the USTA, visit http://www.usta.com

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. Nearly 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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