Dettmer captures national hardware at 90 |

Dettmer captures national hardware at 90

At 90 years old, Lucy Dettmer is on the comeback trail.

The Park City resident returned from a two-year hiatus to win the National Grass Championships for 90-and-older players. Dettmer received the traditional gold ball – given to the nation’s top players each year in their respective age categories – in both singles and doubles.

She teamed with 1938 Australian Open champion Dodo Cheney for her doubles win and then beat her partner for the singles title. Despite having not played on a grass court for 12-14 years, Dettmer didn’t drop a single game in the singles finale.

"I almost lost a game," Dettmer said. "I was serving at love-30, and I thought ‘Uh-oh, I’m not going to reach my goal.’"

"Her competitive spirit just doesn’t go away," said Park City Racquet Club pro Laurie Lambert. "She could be 15 as far as how competitive she is."

Dettmer decided to return to competitive tennis after receiving a letter asking her to participate and contacted Lambert for some help practicing.

She credits her incredible health to good fortune and lots of hiking on local trails. She walks through blizzards and cars pull over asking if she needs help, but she tells them to go on their way. Not surprisingly, she’s much faster than the other ladies her age.

"The one thing that was a little hard for me is that I’m in good shape," she said. "My associates do not have the speed that they used to have."

Dettmer said she covers about three fourths of the court playing with Cheney, who is four years older.

"It’s been fun playing with her, because she kind of plays up to the audience," Dettmer said. "If she can get the racket on the ball, you’d better watch out."

Dettmer will play next in the Hard Court Championships in La Jolla Beach, California. She teaches three days a week at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School, where students gave her a big sendoff for her championship trip.

"I just feel wonderful to have the support of these great kids," she said. "I feel very fortunate to have had this time in my life to do these things."

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