Paralympic Sport San Jose Hosts 9th annual Golden State Challenge

Aug. 12, 2009, 12:03 p.m. (ET)

The City of San Jose's South Bay Smash wheelchair tennis team hosted the ninth annual Golden State Challenge wheelchair tennis tournament at Santa Clara University on August 1st and 2nd, 2009. The players enjoyed the beautiful setting and perfect weather, between 75-80 degrees with a light, cool breeze.

Don Bearden of San Jose won the Men's Open division, while the Men's A and B divisions were both conquered by women, Denise Esrey of Grass Valley and Marlene Alatorre of San Jose. Alatorre had an outstanding tournament, winning both singles and doubles in very close matches. Sharon Kelleher of San Jose was the Women's Open singles winner, and Kate Sorensen, also of San Jose, won the Women's A division.

The South Bay Smash and coach Bill Jacobson were thrilled to be so successful on their home turf. More than twenty players came from all over California and Utah to compete in both singles and doubles at this USTA sanctioned event.

Zack Wentz of Palo Alto and Clay Brackett from Irvine competed in the junior division. Wentz won the match and also the Men's C division. Wentz and Brackett are both 16 years old and were each competing for the first time in a wheelchair tennis tournament. Both young men have solid games and promising futures. Wentz only began playing tennis in a wheelchair this spring and is still learning how to maneuver the chair. His powerful strokes led him to victory, and he was pleased to win his first wheelchair tennis event. Brackett, who is also an excellent athlete and has great court mobility, won the tournament's sportsmanship award for his respectful and polite manner on and off the court.

Tournament organizers would like to thank USTA NorCal, Santa Clara University, U.S. Paralympics, Mike Box from Colours, Noah's Bagels, tournament referee Marc Epstein, and all the dedicated volunteers for their support of this annual event.

For more information, please visit or contact tournament director Sharon Kelleher at 408-369-6438.