Tennis celebration at CIHS courts

C-I tennis coaches Lee Orvik and Thea Lowman (left) accept the USTA donation from Christine Nickles (right), with Dist. 911 Activities Director Mark Solberg also taking part in the April 21 ceremony.

A large gathering beat the sprinkles Saturday morning, April 21, to celebrate the new resurfaced look at the Cambridge-Isanti High School tennis courts.

Along with tennis-themed refreshments served under the tent, a brief ceremony was held to accept a $6,050 donation from the U.S. Tennis Association to help pay for the resurfacing completed last autumn.

“When you drive down the hill and see the royal blue courts, you think, ‘This is beautiful!’ This project will benefit the young and young at heart for many years,” spoke District 911 Activities Director Mark Solberg prior to the check passing.

Christine Nickels of the USTA was also proud that the resurfacing included painting blended dark blue “Quick Start” lines which create a smaller court for young players to learn the game easier.

Christine Nickels of the USTA and C-I Coach Thea Lowman led a ‘fly like an eagle’ warm-up exercise for a group of young players on Saturday.

“This is what the USTA is all about– community tennis,” said Nickels. “Lee Orvik and Thea Lowman are great coaches for the game. Make sure you thank them for all they do. That type of energy they have for the game is what’s needed to grow programs.”

After the ceremony, several skill stations were set up across the seven courts for players of all ages to try. Lowman and Orvik’s brother, Scott Orvik, who coaches tennis at Annandale H.S., was also on hand to run one of the drills.

Mixed among the crowd around the courts was Paul Tatting, who was one of the key instigators in getting the set of courts originally constructed 18 years ago. Solberg singled out Tatting and the group he worked with who fostered the vision for tennis in the Cambridge and Isanti area.

“I never thought this celebration would be this big, and there’s so much excitement– not just little kids but older kids like myself,” Tatting said. “The courts are just beautiful. Reminds me of 1994 when we finished our courts, and I remember Bonnie and Chuck Niles had a nice inauguration where we had about 20 people there. That was wonderful, but this is really something.”

Continued Mr. Tatting, “The blue courts are really classy, and the light lines for the Quick Start kids program are great– encouraging tennis all the way down to 2- and 3-year-olds.”

Tennis drills taught by Thea and Lee’s brother Scott Orvik, the tennis coach at Annandale H.S.

Tatting still is involved with tennis as the organizer for Monday Night Men’s Tennis held throughout spring and summer on the CIHS courts.

“Monday night we start around 6 o’clock, and it’s basically doubles where you will have a different partner every half-hour. So all ages and all abilities are welcome. If any women are interested in getting their own night going at our courts, contact me and they can start a women’s league (689-3990).”

(Photos & story by Greg Hunt)

A tennis court cake baked for the celebration by CIHS grad and Bluejacket tennis player Brandon Simon, who also baked a large pile of cupcakes for the occasion.