RTA Honors Feldman, Newhouse

RTA Honors Feldman, Newhouse

ABOVE LEFT, Jerry McCoy holds up the Rockbridge Tennis Association’s first-ever lifetime achievement award, which he and his wife, Sue, received on Thursday. The award recognized the McCoys for founding the RTA in 1999 and for their dedication over the years. ABOVE RIGHT, RTA president Bruce Williams presents the 20th annual William C. Washburn Award to 2020 Rockbridge County High School graduate Jacob Feldman (left) and RC rising junior Lydia Newhouse. (Jonathan Schwab photos)

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Also Recognized Are Rockbridge Area Tennis ‘Trailblazers’

The Rockbridge Tennis Association presented three awards on Thursday at the Lexington Golf and Country Club tennis courts. Rockbridge County High School tennis players Jacob Feldman and Lydia Newhouse each received the 20th annual William C. Washburn Award, and Jerry and Sue McCoy were honored with the RTA’s first-ever lifetime achievement award.

The Washburn Award, which was first handed out in 2001, recognizes Rockbridge area junior tennis players who practice good sportsmanship and have good quality of character and great enthusiasm for the game of tennis. Washburn, the man the award is named for, served as Washington and Lee University’s men’s tennis coach from 1959-1964 and was the school’s first women’s tennis coach, starting in 1985. The W&L women’s team had a losing record in Washburn’s first year as coach, but since then, the Generals have had winning records every season.

Along with having their names engraved on a plaque that will be placed on display in the Rockbridge Regional Library, which lists all the winners over the years, each winner received $100 from the RTA.

Feldman, who graduated from RC last month, was the No. 2 singles player for the Wildcats as a junior, when he and 2019 RC graduate Gabriel Slayton advanced to the Region 3C doubles tournament. As a sophomore, Feldman was the No. 4 singles player for the Wildcats, who made it to the state tournament for the first time in program history. His coach, Holden Branham, was at the presentation. RTA president Bruce Williams presented the awards.

In addition to playing tennis for the Wildcats, Feldman has helped out for several years with the summer youth tennis clinics put on by RTA and the Rockbridge Area Recreation Organization. The RTA recognized Feldman for being a dedicated tennis player.

Reflecting on the honor, Feldman said, “Honestly, I didn’t imagine myself here my freshman year. When I first picked up a racket, it was mainly because my siblings had done it before me. I kind of just fell in love with the sport.” In addition to Branham, who coached him since his sophomore year, Feldman credits his freshman coach, Chris Hu, for helping him develop his game.

In the fall, Feldman will attend Southern Virginia University, where he plans to study physics and hopes to play tennis. Feldman’s parents, Nathan and Raelyn, were there to watch him get the award.

Newhouse, a rising junior, has not yet played for the Wildcats because this season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but she was grateful to receive the award. Her new coach, Mallory Bane, was there to watch. “It was a big honor,” she said. “I’m really grateful for Coach Bane. I’m looking forward to next year.”

Newhouse, who also plays volleyball, was recognized for helping with the summer youth tennis clinics, along with being a very good student and a dedicated tennis player. Watching Newhouse receive the award were her parents, Chuck and Rachel.

After the Washburn Award presentation, Williams presented the lifetime achievement award, designed by RTA member Dave Pfaff, to Jerry McCoy and his wife, Sue.

The McCoys founded the RTA in the fall of 1999 before officially launching the association in 2000, and they’ve been heavily involved over the years, regularly participating in Saturday morning tennis, the youth clinics, the Spring Fling, tournaments, and other events.

After receiving the award, Jerry McCoy said, “It’s really a terrific honor. It’s something we certainly didn’t expect, but it was a wonderful journey through all the years. It was a lot of work, but it wasn’t all work. We met wonderful people that we are still friends with.”

Sue McCoy added, “This is a great, unexpected honor.”

In his remarks before handing the McCoys the award, Williams told them, “Without you, tennis would not have the presence in this area that it does today and wouldn’t be leaving the legacy of generations that have come since of tennis players. Through your efforts, you started, nurtured and maintained the RTA. You developed programs for youths and adults and made arrangements for coaches, players and sites for them to play on a regular basis. You’re clearly trailblazers in this area when it comes to tennis. We’ll always be very grateful for the work you’ve done and all that years that you put into it.”

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