STEUBENVILLE, Ohio – The inaugural Fr. Michael Scanlan Tennis Tournament concluded as a rousing success despite a Saturday of matches that were periodically interrupted by rain delays.
The tournament, named and held in honor of President Emeritus of Franciscan University of Steubenville, functions as both a community event and fundraiser for the Franciscan men's and women's tennis programs. In terms of both the number of participants, 33, and funds raised, the tournaments first year provided a confidant starting point.
"It was just fabulous. It exceeded my expectations," said Scott Greve, the tournament's chief organizer and assistant men's tennis coach. "The most influential thing for me was how many people traveled well 500 miles to come play."
Two of those people who traveled a great distance to participate were Kevin and Tracy (Nelson) Simpson '89, the tournaments biggest donors, who traveled from Louisiana.
The tournament was the first time in 25 years that Tracy has been back to the university where Fr. Mike and Fr. Sam Tiesi helped keep her passion for tennis alive.
"When I went to Steubenville I felt like I was never going to play tennis again," Tracy Simpson said about when she came to Franciscan for graduate school. "It was practically my first day. They were such tennis fanatics and they heard that I played. Fr. Sam called me up and we started playing."
The travel paid off for the Simpson's who won the Mixed Doubles Championship, while Tracy Simpson also won the Women's Open Championship and the Women's Doubles Champion playing with Baron assistant tennis coach Shannon Irvin.
The other tournament winners were:
- Christian Henderson: Men's Open Champion
- Jeremy Ellis & Paul Jarzynka ('14): Men's Doubles Champions
- David Irvin: Intermediate Men's Champion
- Joe White: Men's 50 & Over Champion
- Dave Ellis & Scott Greve: Men's 50 & Over Champion
Despite an overwhelmingly rainy Saturday, both Greve and the Simpson's agreed that the event lived up to their expectations not just in terms of financial or on-court success but also in how the attitude of the tournament honored Mr. Mike Scanlan.
"His spirit was definitely evident. Everybody's attitude was definitely in light of Fr. Mike," Greve said. "The other nice thing is that we really identified areas where just by tweaking a couple things we could take it to the next level."