P-T Tennis: Mark Claeys returns to region, wins a title
By Ryan Haskell Post-Tribune correspondent July 28, 2012 11:20PM
Paige Heuer of Munster returns the ball to Women's Open Singles opponent Meg Modesto (not visible) in their quarterfinal match during the Post-Tribune Tennis Classic on the Valparaiso University courts in Valparaiso, Ind. Saturday July 28, 2012. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:35AM
VALPARAISO — Greenwood resident Mark Claeys centered his family vacation in the region around watching his college daughters, Emily and Jamie, participate in the Post-Tribune Tennis Classic.
He wound up taking home some hardware of his own.
Claeys, who grew up in Gary and graduated from Wirt High School in 1975, won the 55-and-under singles title, beating Valparaiso’s Gary Dixon, 6-4, 6-3 on Saturday afternoon.
It was the first time Claeys himself had played in the P-T Classic in more than 30 years.
“As a kid, I used to play in Gary at Gleason Park,” said Claeys, as he watched his daughters participate in the open doubles tournament on a perfect Saturday evening. “It was fun.
“I’m getting older so I don’t move like I used to.”
Claeys said the key to his success was just “staying vertical.”
“That and my serve is probably my biggest weapon,” he laughed. “It left the rest of me with less challenges.”
His daughters weren’t as successful, though, dropping a tough match to Munster mother-daughter duo Penny and Paige Heuer, 6-4, 6-0 in the open semifinals.
“It was awesome playing with my daughter,” Penny said. “In the middle of the match, I remember thinking, ‘There’s nothing better in the world right now. The weather is perfect and I can’t believe I’m playing high-level doubles with my daughter.’ We knew we had to play solid to beat them.”
The Heuers will face Katee Sanderson and Abbey Hamstra at noon today for the open doubles championship.
Reggie and Luke Sanderson will be eyeing a championship of their own after knocking off Reid and Brian Clark on Saturday, 6-2, 6-3.
They will face Tim Shideler and Jeff Wheatley at 1 p.m. for the title. Shideler and Wheatley defeated Carlos Celis-Joe Arias, 6-4, 6-1.
Luke Sanderson is also shooting for his first open singles title. Sanderson, who finished as the runner-up last year, defeated Josh Bartusch, 6-0, 6-0 to reach the title match.
He will face Indianapolis’ Jeff Moody in the 9 a.m. championship this morning.