Missouri Valley / St. Louis

Net Rushers Named Gold Star Award Winner

Jamie Hansen | May 27, 2020

In conjunction with USTA Missouri Valley celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Net Rushers Community Tennis Association led by Mary Owens Hudson has been named as a Gold Star award recipient. The award recognizes Owens Hudson and the Net Rushers CTA for contributions they’ve made to grow the game in the St. Louis area.  


And grow it they do.


Net Rushers has been a staple in the St. Louis area since Owens Hudson’s late sister, Erma, started the organization in 1988. Since, the CTA has introduced the game to countless youth in the area. Its mission is to promote the game of tennis in the St. Louis metropolitan area by providing virtually free and low-cost tennis instruction to culturally diverse youth.  


In addition to providing tennis instruction, Net Rushers also focuses on character development and academic counseling. 


Owens Hudson is proud to have her organization be a recipient of the Gold Star Award.


“I am elated to be recognized as a Gold Award Winner,” she said. “It is simply amazing to know that the USTA and tennis community appreciates and recognizes the dedication, commitment and hard work exhibited by the Net Rushers to expose more young people in the St. Louis metropolitan area to the wonderful world of tennis.”


For Owens Hudson, tennis has been an integral part of her life for over 40 years.


“My first exposure to tennis was enrolling in group tennis lessons, which led me to becoming a recreational player,” she said.  “After which, I played on USTA women's leagues and World Team Tennis (WTT) leagues, and competed in tournaments. Over the last few years, I have had a limited amount of play in a USTA women's league and a recreational tennis league.”


Tennis is a sport that gives so much—not just to physical health—but in so many other ways. 


Owens Hudson wants to ensure as many youth are able to experience the wonders of tennis as possible. Growing the game is so important as she sees the need for the game to be more inclusive to a more diverse population of players.


“Tennis is a wonderful sport,” she said. “It is fun to play recreationally with family and friends, or competitively. The game of tennis promotes physical fitness, mental toughness, discipline, perseverance and sportsmanship.  I have such a passion for the game that I want to expose everyone to the great wonders of this life-long sport.”


Net Rushers has several fundraising initiatives through the year. One of this year’s major fundraisers – the Mardi Gras Trivia Night – was postponed due to COVID-19. It has been rescheduled for April 3, 2021.

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