Seilhamer recognized by USTA with Middle States tennis award
Rochelle Seilhamer has served as a tennis tournament director in Monroeville and throughout the Pittsburgh region for the better part of three decades.
She is involved with USTA-sanctioned junior tournaments for the Middle States section, and her work in promoting tennis at the youth level through competition is being recognized with the Tournament Director of the Year award for 2012.
Seilhamer said she is honored to receive the award, but recognition such as that is not why she spends so much time organizing tournaments.
Seeing the sport of tennis grow, especially at the youth levels, is what drives her.
“I just keep going with the tournaments,” Seilhamer said. “If they call with a certain tournament, and I have time to do it, I will do it.”
Seilhamer, who is the head coach of the Gateway boys and girls tennis teams, will be honored at the Allegheny Mountain District awards banquet on April 14 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Pittsburgh.
The description of the award from the USTA Middle States website reads: “Presented to a tournament director who manages and runs USTA-sanctioned tournaments in the Middle States section while providing participants, officials and spectators a quality experience. Those who run multiple events, community-friendly events and/or display innovation and creativity are strongly considered. This person is known for putting on an excellent tournament and understanding the whole process from ... management to making the event a great experience for players.”
The Middle States section encompasses Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and northwestern West Virginia. The section is further divided into six districts, and the Allegheny Mountain District includes Pittsburgh, Erie and Wheeling, W.Va.
Seilhamer served as tournament director for a USTA National Open in the Boys 12 Division in February at The Club in Monroeville, where she works as a tennis instructor.
“There are USTA events going on every single week in cities all over the region,” Gateway assistant coach Mike Quinn said.
“To run these events, you have to be a tournament director, and Rochelle has been doing a great job with that for more than 25 years. She runs the biggest of the events, and they aren't awarded to too many people. They are a big undertaking. This award is a big deal, and I am very proud of her.”
Quinn played in tournaments with Seilhamer and has worked with her for 15 to 20 years at The Club.
“She is tremendously well versed in every aspect of tennis,” he said.
“She's a very complete player. The players are the most important part of the events, and she knows what needs to be done and what it takes to give the players coming in a great tournament experience. You don't get those big tournaments unless you have a proven track record.”
Seilhamer said she wants to host more USTA-sanctioned tournaments in Monroeville and throughout the Pittsburgh region, including at Gateway High School.
She said she wants to give more area youth a chance to play in these events.
The Section 3-AAA singles tournament will be Monday and Tuesday at Fox Chapel High School, and Gateway senior Timmy Harris will be gunning for success in his fourth trip to the event.
As a freshman in 2010, Harris won his first-round match before suffering a loss to Shady Side Academy's Chris Mengel, the eventual section champ, in the quarterfinals.
Harris also went 1-1 at the Section 3 singles tournament in 2011 and last year, falling to Shady Side Academy's Vivek Nimgaonkar in the quarterfinals both times.
Senior Brad Shear and junior Joey Beiter, Seilhamer said, were to compete this week to see who would get the second spot from Gateway in the tournament.
Shear battled through injury and illness in the offseason, and, Seilhamer said, he still is a little rusty.
He competed at the section singles tournament for the first time last year, and he was eliminated in the first round.
As a team, Gateway was 1-1 in Section 3-AAA play after a win against Penn Hills and a loss to Pittsburgh Central Catholic.
A section match at Shady Side Academy on Tuesday, weather permitting, was to be completed past the deadline for this week's edition.
The Gators are scheduled to host Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.