Since 1983, the ITA Women’s All-American Championships have featured the nation’s top NCAA Division I players. The event has created milestones that have directly influenced the popularity of women’s collegiate tennis over the years and has been a pioneer in women’s college tennis, including the career of 2016 ITA Women’s Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame Inductee, Gretchen Rush.
During her time on the Trinity Women’s Tennis team from 1983-1986, Rush took home the 1984 ITA All-American Championship title, defeating Margaret Redfearn of Houston 6-3, 6-2. Rush was also an NCAA Division I doubles champion, two time finalist in the NCAA singles and doubles, and was a four-time All-American. Rush was the Broderick Award, now Honda Sports Award, winner in 1986 as the nation’s top collegiate tennis player.
Following her time at the collegiate level, Rush took her talents to the professional tour, reaching the singles quarterfinals at Wimbledon, the US Open, and French Open. She won three top-level singles titles, Auckland in 1987, Schenectady in 1988, and Moscow in 1989. She was also the mixed doubles runner-up at Wimbledon in 1988 with partner Kelly Jones. In 1990, Rush reached a career high ranking of No. 18 in the world.
Upon retirement from the tour, Rush spent time coaching at the collegiate level serving as the assistant coach at San Diego State University from 1993-1994, head coach at San Diego City College from 2008-2012, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps College from 2012-2014, leading her teams to two Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships, and at her alma mater, Trinity University. During her five years as head coach of the Tigers, they won five conference championships and made five NCAA regional appearances. Rush was named the head coach at Hollins University in June of 2020 before retiring this past season.
Just like the ITA Women’s All-American Championships, the ITA Men’s All-American Championships feature some of the nation’s top NCAA Division I players. With notable players such as US Open semifinalist Ben Shelton and NCAA Division I Champion Ethan Quinn taking home the title in years past, 2006 Men’s Hall of Fame inductee Richey Reneberg is among the ranks.
While on the SMU Men’s Tennis team from 1985-87, Reneberg took home the ITA Men’s All-American singles title in 1986, defeating Steve DeVries from the University of California 6-4, 6-4. Other notable accomplishments of Richey include being named a three-time All-American, 1985 NCAA Rookie of the Year, and two-time SWC Player of the Year.
Following his time on the SMU Men’s Tennis team, Reneberg headed to the professional tour, winning the 1992 US Open Doubles title and the 1995 Australian Open Doubles title. Reaching a career high of No. 20 in singles in May of 1991 and a career high of No. 1 in doubles, Reneberg won a total of 21 career titles. He was also a member of ten US Davis Cup teams.
The ITA Women’s All-American Championships by the Town of Cary will take place in Cary, North Carolina from September 30 – October 8, 2023 while the ITA Men’s All-American Championships will take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center also from September 30 – October 8, 2023.
About the ITA Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame –
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association Men’s and Women’s Halls of Fame aspire to preserve and celebrate the history and further the development of intercollegiate tennis through the collection of historic memorabilia and with inductions of notable players, coaches, and contributors.