Times Gone By

A group of players who competed in the 1980 Blair Women's Tennis League pose for a photo. About 50 tennis players took part in total, including Linda Brown, Kathy Eddy and Diane Christensen — the league's 1980 division champions.

Editor's Note: “A Look at Times Gone By” is an in-depth look at weekly Times Gone By entries compiled since 2015. These articles represent the history of Washington County sports.

Donna Autenrieth was the 1980 Blair Women's Tennis League coordinator and one of its top players.

Asked Wednesday who could have possibly topped her in the advanced division's standings that year, she had to laugh. Her guess was Alice Swihel, who did so much to help organize the league along with so many others.

But, nope, it was Linda Brown who earned first-place honors.

“It was all just good friends,” Autenrieth said in response.

Enterprise Media Group reports from 1980 said about 50 women played in the tennis league, which had started play just three years earlier. They played two nights a week for 10 weeks on courts at Dana College and Central School.

“We had some courts in Blair, but oh boy,” Autenrieth said, noting the state of the black-top court at Central School. There were cracks in the playing surface.

But the completion of the summer league season was still something worth celebrating and the players did. They gathered at the coordinator's home Aug. 20 for a potluck dinner with volleyball, pool and, of course, tennis apart of the festivities.

During the party, awards for the 1980 season were also presented across the league's three divisions — advanced, advanced intermediate and intermediate. A fourth division, the beginner's session, was for practice.

Autenrieth finished second to Brown in the advanced division, while Lynette Hunt was third. In advanced intermediate play, Kathy Eddy earned first, while Jari Kolterman and Sharon Miller were second and third, respectively.

Diane Christensen won the intermediate title ahead of second place Louise Woodhouse and Bev Soderberg.

Overall, Autenrieth said the league was good for the tennis players in town, but “it was great for Blair, too.”

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