Denzer Earns Gold Star Award For Work With 3.0 Leagues
If you’ve found a place in a USTA 3.0 League, chances are you have Tricia Denzer to thank.
Denzer, from Branson, is the latest winner of a USTA Missouri Valley Gold Star award. Those honors are handed out in recognition for contributions made to support and grow the game in USTA Missouri Valley.
“I was surprised and shocked, as I didn’t know I was nominated for the Gold Star award,” Denzer said. “I even had to research what the Gold Star award was on the USTA website.”
Alyssa Stelmach certainly knows Denzer was nominated. The Section Leagues Manager was the one who nominated her.
“(Denzer) was the leader behind USTA Missouri in helping find a place for 3.0 women to have a place,” Stelmach said. “She captained all teams and was a role model to all of the new players.”
Finding a place is important. Denzer noted the region has had several teams, but never a 3.0 league for women. That meant playing up at the 3.5 level for some athletes.
“Some have had success, but playing up can be frustrating,” Denzer said. “A league at their level will give them practice with players of similar skill levels and hopefully build confidence to continue playing.”
Denzer knows firsthand the importance of having a place to build confidence. She didn’t get serious about tennis until she was an adult and got started by hitting a ball against a wall. USTA has helped her find a community to grow relationships while she grows her love of the game.
“I enjoy playing tennis and I'm proud of USTA for helping to grow the game, especially for women,” Denzer said. “I have tried to encourage many players to give USTA a try by creating programs and being a captain of several teams. Tennis is a lifelong sport and in this area we need more players especially younger women to come play.”
This is the second USTA award for Denzer. She was named the 2019 Recreational Player of the Year for the Missouri district.
Denzer has been a league captain for three years and a coordinator for one. She also serves on two committees for tennis in Missouri: the Adult Competition Committee and the Adult Play Committee.
In other words, she isn’t hitting a ball against a wall by herself anymore. And she’s not finished with her efforts to grow the sport.
“I'm always asking new people to join USTA tennis so our region can expand the opportunities to play,” Denzer said. “I would love to put together additional teams including those for Women's Tri Level and Mixed Doubles. I spend most of my free time in the summer organizing, playing, or promoting tennis in this area. Branson now has a dedicated web page regarding tennis and opportunities will continue to expand. I'm always willing to help someone find chances to play tennis!”
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