Above: (l-r) Ed Garno, the oldest man to ever win the men’s open draw at the National Doubles, cracked a cross-court while Steve Scharff, Alex Stait, and Zac Alexander watched in the finals of the men’s open draw.
by James Zug
The 2018 National Doubles came back to the game’s birthplace in Philadelphia in March. One hundred and forty-one partnerships entered the nineteen divisions, making the event one of the largest in history.
Those partnerships were tested not only by the skid boasts, Philadelphia shots and reverse double boasts but by the weather. A vicious nor’easter pounded the region on Friday, bringing snow—over a foot—and high winds. Trees came down by the thousands. Power went out at Cynwyd Club, the host of the tournament. Two dozen matches were postponed. Shane Coleman spent three hours driving from Cynwyd to Germantown Cricket Club, a drive that normally takes thirteen minutes. It took Kim Clearkin, the director of the National Doubles, four hours to drive eight miles back to the tournament hotel.
The women’s open draw included stalwart PSA legends Latasha Khan and Madeline Perry, but it was Steph Hewitt & Gina Stoker that topped Meredeth Quick & Dana Betts in the finals 15-14, 15-13, 15-12. For Stoker, it was her first National Doubles title. For Hewitt it was her fifth, with four different partners; Hewitt is now tied with Jane Austin Stauffer for the most victorious partnerships among women and just one short of the all-time record of five, held by Diehl Mateer.
The men’s open draw was filled with upsets. Defending champions Graham Bassett & Preston Quick barely survived a quarterfinal encounter with two young guns, Robby Berner and Reed Endresen, 15-11 in the fifth, before going down to Zac Alexander & Steve Sharff. They in turn fell in four to Ed Garno & Alex Stait. For Garno & Stait, it was their first National Doubles title and for Garno a stroll into the record books: at age forty-nine he matched up with the oldest men ever to win an open National Doubles title: Joe Hahn in 1955 (age forty-nine), Vic Elmaleh in 1968 (age forty-eight) and Maurice Heckscher in 1989 (age forty-seven).
Kat Grant & Lissen Tutrone captured their third women’s 40+ title and fourth National Doubles title overall. Molly Pierce & Jody Law won an inaugural women’s 60+ draw. Surviving two five-gamers, Shane Coleman nailed down his third men’s 40+ title, with his third partner (Mark Price). Scott Dulmage & Rich Thomson took their third straight 45+ title and fourth overall. In the men’s 50+ Jeff Stanley took his first national title since winning the National Intercollegiates in 1988. Dominic Hughes—on his way to a Grand Slam of four national titles in one season—took the men’s 55+ in a tough five-gamer over Bart Sambrook & Rob Hill. It was the fourth masters title for him and Rich Sheppard. Len Bernhheimer defended his men’s 75+ title with Bart McGuire, giving him a total of fourteen National Doubles titles.