These Kalamazoo area ladies play tennis in a senior women’s league and are the reigning champions of the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) mid-west region. Sitting on the rock on the left is Mary Ann Willmeng of Vicksburg and right behind her is Bev Haas, also of Vicksburg.
Each year West Hills Tennis Club and the YMCA form a team of women 65 years and older to play in USTA sanctioned tournaments. Their journey to the championship round in Surprise, Arizona, went through playing and beating teams in Michigan, then midwest sectionals where they beat teams from Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. They did not place in the Nationals but had four glorious days of competing, according to Willmeng.
She has been playing tennis and competing since she was very young and has a dad who played actively until he was 90 years old. The Willmengs are a tennis family, with son Danny and daughter Kelly both on Vicksburg’s varsity tennis teams during their years in school. Their dad, Dr. Tom Willmeng, plays just for the fun of it, Mary Ann said. Her father urged her to purchase a lifetime membership in the USTA when she was in her 30s. “It was too expensive so he offered to spring for half of the cost. Now that I’m over 65, that purchase has paid itself many times over,” Willmeng said with a chuckle.