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FORT LAUDERDALE – It was the Northeast United States meets rural Northwest Florida at the 2021 Florida Senior Games Tennis Championships Wednesday and the outcome was success.

The 80-84 Women’s Doubles gold medalists from Tuesday, were on opposite sides of the court on Wednesday.

Judy Smith (pictured at left), of Brookline, Massachusetts, a northeast metropolitan city, teamed with Michaelin Watts, of Apalachicola, Florida, a rural fishing village for the Women’s Double Championships and faced off in the 80-84 Mixed Doubles gold.

The pair met at a tournament, ten years ago in San Antonio, Texas, and played well together. They have since become friends. 

Watts travels to the northeast to play in tournaments and stays with Smith, in suburban Boston.  Michaelin and her husband, David, have returned the favor and Smith has traveled to the North Florida coast for tournaments and stayed in Apalachicola.

“They’re fun,” Smith said of the Watts’. “You have to enjoy the people you’re with if you’re spending a week with them.”

The three of them rented a house in Coral Springs for a week since David competed in the Cycling 20K and 40K Road Races on Saturday, December 4, in Martin County. David placed second in the 80-84 age group but had a good ride after taking the advice of the gold medal winner.

“The guy that won the gold medal told me to ride behind a group of 75 year old riders and draft off of them,” he said. “It worked and I had one of my better rides.”

With David looking on, Wednesday at the Tennis Center of Coral Springs, Smith teamed with Michael Schuman, of Boca Raton, to defeat Watts and Russell Cumbie, of Carrabelle, in the Championship Final, 7-5, 6-0. Both teams had played a match earlier in the day, with temperatures hovering around 85 degrees.

“We were ahead 6-5 in the first set and lost in the tiebreaker,” Watts said. “If we would have won that, things might have been different.”

On Tuesday, Smith and Watts defeated Barbara Morris and Rolande Poulin, of Sun City Center, 6-3, 6-7, 10-7, to win the Women’s Doubles gold medal in the 80-84 age group.

Smith is a member of the USTA New England Hall of Fame, has been ranked as high as second in the USTA rankings for her age group and traveled to Croatia to compete in the 2015 International Senior Championships. She also played Tennis at Wheaton College and was a state championship winning high school coach in Massachusetts.

“When I was growing up there weren’t many opportunities,” Smith said. “I was the captain of the high school team as a junior because there were not any seniors on the team.”

Also on the final day of competition at the Tennis Center of Coral Springs, Martha Poitevent teamed with Carter Lord, to convincingly win the 75-79  Mixed Doubles age group gold medal.  The St. Augustine duo won two matches in straight sets, losing only one set.

It was Poitevent’s 11th Florida Senior Games Tennis gold medal since 2012, but her first in Mixed Doubles.  She has won eight women’s singles gold medals and two women’s doubles gold.

The 30th Anniversary Florida Senior Games takes a day off on Thursday before continuing on Friday with Horseshoes at Ed Wright Park, in Clearwater and the Hammer Throw competition at the Ansin Sports Complex.

The 2021 Florida Senior Games, presented by Humana, is an annual program of the Florida Sports Foundation, the lead sports promotion and development organization of the state of Florida, in conjunction with the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB.  For more information about the Florida Senior Games, visit www.floridaseniorgames.com and find more interesting stories by following the Florida Senior Games on Facebook.