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Joey Gratton Tennis Championship benefits teen programming

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Event co-chairs Barbara Lancer and Christina Bonilla welcome guests to the Players Party on October 26. Photo by Benito Ray Gonzales.

Two-hundred tennis players participated in the annual Joey Gratton Tennis Championship October 26-28 at the Longboat Key Club Tennis Gardens. The event, which was co-chaired by Barbara Lancer and Christina Bonilla, honored the legacy of Sarasota’s late exceptional athlete Joey Gratton and raised funds to support the innovative teen programs at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties.

“The Joey Gratton Tennis Championship allows our organization to continue providing area teens with enriching programs that help them prepare for success after high school graduation,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. “Supporters of this event give teens access to college and career preparation and vocational training, as well as, leadership, service and entrepreneurial programs.”

The event kicked off with a Players Party on October 26, and featured an exciting Exhibition with tennis professional Jimmy Arias and NextGen players. Michael Mmoh, American tennis player and USTA junior national champion, also attended the event. After the match, the Joey Gratton Foundation presented Abby Rencheli with the Jimmy Arias Cup and a scholarship in recognition of her outstanding play and dedication. Guests also enjoyed food prepared by The Resort at Longboat Key Club, live entertainment by Lisa Rott and a chance auction.

Tournament play kicked off the following day and continued through Sunday afternoon. Congratulations to the following division winners:

Mixed Open – Abby Rencheli & Michael Moore
Mixed 9.0 – Jacqueline Faulk & Nick Hardy
Mixed 8.0 – Jeff Stern & Rebecca Meyer
Mixed 7.0 – Livya Bright & Barry Bright

Women’s Open – Abby Rencheli & Abby Higgins
Women’s 9.0 – Jenn Peters & Beth Green
Women’s 8.0 – Ann Lammers & Mary Beth Poncin
Women’s 7.0 – Fabiola Beckmann & Carrie Walsh
Women’s 6.0 – Livya Bright & Shea Kaaber

Men’s Open – Travis Eckert & Jose Tolentino
Men’s 9.0 – Mike Karka & Nick Hardy
Men’s 8.0 – Kid Schoonover & Ron Nourse
Men’s 7.0 – Jack Collins & Duncan Yull
Men’s 55+ – Fred Budde & Warren Girle

winners holding trophies
Blake Gratton (left) and Barbara Lancer with Mixed Open Champions Abby Rencheli and Michael Moore

Click here to see photos of the winners and finalists.

Special thanks to the event’s committee including co-chairs Barbara and Christina Bonilla and members Gina Arias, Tom Cail, Kelly Dancer, Tanya Ferris, Blake Gratton, Brock Gratton, Priscilla Gratton, Beth Green, Dustin Keith, Jon Lee, Amy Lyons, Joanna Roberti, Lisa Rott, Kathy Rosenberg, Scott Schuhrieman, Tina VonKessel and John Woods.

Sponsors who made the event possible include but are not limited to, Grand Slam Sponsors Juice Plus with Jeffrey and Joanna Roberti and Paulo and Priscilla Teixeira; Schofield & Spencer, P.A., Attorneys at Law with Dan McClure and the Lancer Family Foundation, as well as, Champion Sponsors Lee Wetherington Homes; Rock Bottom Bottles; Mr. and Mrs. Bobby and Christina Bonilla; Xplode Marketing; Syprett, Meshad, Resnick, Lieb, Dumbaugh, Jones, Krotec & Westheimer; The Tennis Gardens at Longboat Key Club; Janice S. Kelly Memorial Foundation and Tarr Charitable Family Foundation. For a full listing of sponsors, please visit


The Joey Gratton Tennis Championship honors the late Joey Gratton who was an exceptional athlete, a champion motocross and powerboat racer and a nationally-ranked tennis player. He had an incredible passion for supporting and promoting youth in sports. The Joey Gratton Foundation was established to celebrate Joey Gratton’s life by helping children actively participate in an organized sport that values personal integrity, team and leadership skills, in a fun and healthy learning environment. The Joey Gratton Foundation focuses on creating opportunity for those who may not have the chance, including the beneficiaries of the Joey Gratton Tennis Championship – more than 7,000 children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Since 1970, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties has provided thousands of local youth who need access to high-quality programs the most with opportunities to enhance their academics, develop character and leadership skills and adopt a healthy lifestyle. The Joey Gratton Tennis Championship helps open the door for Boys & Girls Club members to achieve their full potential and chart their pathways toward a great future. To learn more about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, visit or call 941-366-3911.

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