The Franklin & Marshall tennis coaching staff won United States Tennis Association (USTA) Gold Balls at the USTA Indoor National Championship held Dec. 26-31 in Flushing, N.Y. Head Coach Sean Kelleher struck gold in the men's open singles division, as well as the men's open doubles division with partner and Assistant Coach Ben Zink.
Winning a USTA Gold Ball is the highest honor for competitive amateur tennis players. USTA gold, silver and bronze balls are awarded to the top three finishers of adult and junior USTA-sanctioned national championships (Level 1).
Kelleher was unseeded in the tournament, which featured a draw of 256 men. He dropped just one set in his journey to the finals, where he defeated Michael Lampa of Ocean, N.J., 7-6(4); 6-2.
Zink reached the Round of 32 in the men's open singles division, losing a close match to Derek Difazio of Smithtown, N.Y., 7-5; 7-6(3). But Zink didn't go home empty handed, teaming with his coaching partner Kelleher to take the gold in men's open doubles. The duo knocked off the second- and eighth-seeded teams to claim the championship. In the final, the men defeated Brad Goldberg and Clinton DeVries, both of New York, 7-5; 7-6(1).
Kelleher and Zink also teamed to win a USTA Gold Ball last August at the USTA National Grasscourt Championships at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. In addition to their doubles win, they squared off in the finals of the men's open singles division with Kelleher claiming gold and Zink taking home silver.
Kelleher finished 2007 and 2008 as the top-ranked USTA Middle States men's open singles participant. He and Zink also finished 2008 as the section's No. 1 duo in the men's open doubles division.
Franklin & Marshall opens its spring tennis season on March 14 when the Diplomats host Philadelphia University.
See a story about Kelleher and Zink in Lancaster Newspapers: Zink, Kelleher: View from Above.