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ETV’s “Carolina Stories” Spotlights Wheelchair Tennis in South Carolina on June 1st

May 31, 2006 01:05 PM

Columbia, SC…Everything about the game is the same. The rules and the scoring are identical, but these players depend on their wheels, not their legs. In June, as part of the weekly series Carolina Stories, ETV presents Spokes and Strings, which takes a look at the sport of wheelchair tennis and the lives of the people who play it. The documentary airs Thursday, June 1 at 9 p.m., with an encore presentation on Thursday, June 29 at 9 p.m.

Begun in 1976, wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing and most challenging of all wheelchair sports. Spokes and Strings profiles several extraordinary athletes who compete extensively throughout the year, including Bob Masella, a Columbia resident and team captain for many USTA Local League Tennis teams in the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) most popular national recreational tennis program.

Capt. Bob Masella - USTA Mixed Doubles League - Sept., 2005

Masella recently won singles and doubles competitions in an International Tennis Federation-sponsored wheelchair championship on Hilton Head Island. Last year, he also placed third in the U.S. in the Eastern National Finals of the USTA.

Sarah Casteel, another skilled player, is a Greenville resident and University of Texas Collegiate Wheelchair Champion who has traveled to Amsterdam as a member of the World Cup Team. Casteel also played in the U.S. Open in San Diego in October 2005.

And then there is relative newcomer Israel Shulz. This Charleston resident has already won two of the four competitions he has entered.

Says ETV Producer Jim McMahan, who occasionally partners with Masella on the court, “We wanted to spotlight these athletes and raise awareness of the capabilities of wheelchair tennis athletes in South Carolina.”

Carolina Stories is a weekly series created by ETV producers that spotlights the lives and interests of South Carolinians. The series airs Thursdays at 9 p.m.

ETV is South Carolina’s statewide network with 11 television stations, eight radio stations and a closed-circuit educational telecommunications system in more than 2000 schools, colleges, businesses, and government agencies.