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Missouri Valley / St. Louis

USTA St. Louis Hosts League Section Championship Event

Josh Sellmeyer | August 23, 2022

Hard-fought matches and standout sportsmanship highlighted a great weekend of competitive tennis when USTA St. Louis held its USTA Missouri Valley League Section Championship on August 5-7.


Spots for the USTA League National Championships taking place in October were up for grabs at the sectional event, with Dwight Davis Tennis Center and Westminster Christian Academy acting as host facilities.


Teams at the 18 & Over 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 levels as well as 55 & Over 7.0 and 9.0 squads traveled to St. Louis from across the Missouri Valley to vie for their respective section championships.


“It went fantastic. It was very smooth,” said Alyssa Stelmach, USTA Missouri Valley manager of adult leagues. “The players had a good time. They really loved having Ted Drewes frozen custard and the sandwiches we had there. Everybody complimented that. We were asked at a different section championship, ‘Is this going to be as well-oiled of a machine as St. Louis was?’”


Stelmach noted sportsmanship throughout the weekend was fantastic.


“We really didn’t have any negative things come in at all,” she said. “Even when people lost, they lost graciously. Lots of people complimenting each other and no real complaints about anyone throughout.”

In 18 & Over women’s play, Team Vawter from USTA Oklahoma (3.0), Team Norman from USTA Heart of America (4.0) and Team Chao from USTA Heart of America (5.0) punched their tickets to USTA Nationals. On the 18 & Over men’s side, Team Daniels from USTA Oklahoma (3.0), Team Leahy from USTA Nebraska (4.0) and Team Barlow from USTA Nebraska (5.0) progressed to National Championships.


“We had pretty close matches right out of the gate,” Stelmach said. “We had a couple of two-hour, two-and-a-half-hour matches first thing on Friday morning, which ended up pushing us until 10:00 at night because of them. But in every single division we had matches going into tiebreakers starting at pool play.


“It just continued throughout the entire weekend. I don’t know if I’ve seen a sectional that close in every division since I started. It was very close and very good. The 5.0 men were a sight to see, that’s for sure. I’m very excited to see what our teams do at nationals. We’ve got a good chance.”


In the 55 & Over women’s divisions, Team Johnston of USTA Oklahoma (7.0) and Team Karnowski of USTA Heart of America (9.0) captured section championship crowns. For the 55 & Over men, Team Wanless from USTA Kansas (7.0) and Team Billingsley from USTA Oklahoma (9.0) claimed their respective section titles.


Stelmach said the courts at Dwight Davis were packed throughout the weekend and playing under the lights was a treat for several competitors.


“We even had some people coming in off the street asking what’s going on,” Stelmach said. “We were able to talk to them about USTA and programs we offer. We were drawing in the crowd, which was cool.”

The exact same event will return to St. Louis in 2023 in early August. The 2022 USTA St. Louis section championship was the first sectional to be played this summer. For a full list of USTA Missouri Valley Section Championships and Invitationals, click here.




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