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Harrison Tennis Team Places Second At USTA National Championships

The Racquet Scientists.
The Racquet Scientists. Photo Credit: Contributed

HARRISON, N.Y. -- The Racquet Scientists recently went on the run of a lifetime.

The Racquet Scientists, which play at Rye Racquet Club in Harrison, finished in second place at the United States Tennis Association's 40 and Over Women's National Championships in their division in Florida.

The team, captained by Paula Lapkin and Young Kim, defeated a team from Michigan in the semifinals before losing to a team from Puerto Rico 3-2 in the finals. The team has been together for seven years."

"We were very excited," Lapkin said. "This is a really big deal."

To get to the finals, the team first had to win their division, and then play in regionals against other teams from the area. In August, they went to Schenectady to play in the sectional finals.

Though the team went on a Cinderella run, it almost didn't start out that way. In their first match of the season, the Racquet Scientists were swept.

"After our first match, we thought 'this might be hard,'" Lapkin said. "But we so our ranking go up and we knew we might have a chance. We just kept growing together as a team."

The Racquet Scientists were one of 17 teams out of 2800 to qualify for nationals. While they were in Florida, they endured constant bad weather, which forced matches to be delayed and lost sleep as the group tried to find out when they'd be playing.

"It was pretty stressful," Lapkin said. "The weather was constantly on our minds. Everything had to be dragged out."

Even though they lost the finals in a tiebreak, Lapkin said they had been rooting for the women of Puerto Rico all along.

"After what they've been through, we wanted them to win," Lapkin said.

Lapkin said getting to bond with her teammates was the best part of the trip.

"When I came home, my cheeks and abs hurt from laughing so hard," Lapkin said. "We had so much fun together. We were all so close, it was amazing. It is unusual to have a group of women be this close. and have this magical bond."

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