By Tamas Mondovics

Hard work, dedication and love of the game has deservedly paid off for two local seniors, Jay Bortner and Barry Shollenberger, who prefer spending their time outdoors, specifically on the tennis court.

While most seniors were enjoying their summer out of the Florida heat, Bortner, 70 and Shollenberger, 73, were competing in the men’s 70-74 tennis doubles held at the outdoor courts of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in mid-July.

The National Senior Games are held every two years in a different city in the United States.

Inching their way closer and closer to winning the championship, the pair played and defeated their opponent in five sets including the game’s final set 13-11.

“This has been a great year for us,” Bortner said following a tennis practice at the Buckhorn Springs Tennis and Swim Club in Valrico. “Traveling to the different cities across the country, getting to meet a lot of new people and experience some great competition, while playing the sport we love, is a lot of fun.”

To qualify, Bortner and Shollenberg first participated in, and won, the Tampa Bay Senior Games last September, followed by winning the State Championship game in Fort Myers in December 2014.

Al Macasinag, owner of Al’s Tennis Shop located at 6026 Winthrop Town Centre Riverview, spoke highly of his friends’ recent success, while emphasized the efforts and hard work involved with competing in the senior games, not to mention actually winning the title.

“This is a well-deserved recognition,” Macasinag said. “These tournaments are very competitive and winning them is by no means easy.”

Macasinag added, “Jay and Barry are great guys, who are competitive and down-to-earth.”

Always ready to welcome new members, the Buckhorn Springs Tennis and Swim Club, is located within the Buckhorn Springs Private Golf and Country Club at 2721 S. Miller Rd. in Valrico.

While the golf course is the main attraction, the private country club has amenities, social events, and training facilities to entertain golfers and non-golfers alike as it offers membership options for the entire family. Visit www.buckhornspringstennis.com.