In tennis, love is nothing. For the Cantines their love for tennis is everything! The late Larry Cantine, played in, built, and supported Milbank’s tennis program for over 50 years. Larry loved everything about tennis and spread his enthusiasm. As a tribute to him, Zach Waletich is spearheading the First Annual Larry Cantine Memorial Alumni Tennis Tournament. July 27 marks the first anniversary of Larry’s passing, and the tournament is scheduled for Saturday, July 30.
On Saturday, 24 alumni of the Milbank tennis program will hit the courts. The players are graduates of the program from the 1980s to 2022, but they all share a love for the game and fond memories of Larry’s involvement in the sport. Z. Waletich, who is a P.E teacher and assistant men’s and women’s tennis coach in the Owatonna School District in Owatonna, Minnesota, says, “Whether he was recruiting us to play tennis for the first time, re-stringing our rackets, or playing doubles with us when he was in his 80s, his upbeat and positive support was always evident. He also attended many home matches, so we feel it is important to get this memorial tournament started as a small way to honor Larry each year for what he did for Milbank tennis.”
Larry’s three sons — Kevin, Greg, and Scott — will play along with two of his grandchildren — Alex and Rhianna. Z. Waletich says he plans to play, as does his brother, David, and their father, Ron. The Kurtz family will be represented by Jeff, Dylan, Matt, and Wyatt. Also on the slate of players are: Steve Hamman, Tyler Keller, Josh Anderson, Ryan DeFea, Dan Upton, Craig Barlund, Ryan Hepper, Sam Jarman, Travis Buttke, Jim Dahl, Hattie Mullenbach, Alex Schuelke, and Dan Tuchsherer. Teams will be drawn just before the matches begin.
Z. Waletich says, “What made Larry the happiest was seeing the tennis courts full of people having fun. So, we look forward to making him happy from above by playing at Cantine Courts this Saturday.”
The all-doubles tournament starts at 9 a.m. The winners receive a commemorative plaque. Everyone is welcome to attend.