Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tennis Star Still Active Today Gretchen Rush, Mt. Lebanon, Class of 1982

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Tennis Star Still Active Today Gretchen Rush, Mt. Lebanon, Class of 1982

Article excerpt

In 1990, Mt. Lebanon graduate Gretchen Rush stood on center court at the WTA Tour finals, her high school coach, Charles Stull, watching from the stands.

Her opponent? Oh, just eventual nine-time Wimbledon singles winner, Martina Navratilova.

The outcome wasn't great - Navratilova won handily - but the experience was so out-of-body, Rush listed it as one of the highlights of her tennis career.

"You can't script that stuff," Rush said. "It was pretty amazing."

After winning WPIAL championships in 1978, 1979 and 1981 and PIAA titles in 1979 and 1981, Rush chose Trinity College in San Antonio over Stanford. The one year she didn't win a WPIAL title, Rush was at a training camp in Florida. She was a four-time Trinity All-American from 1983-86 and will enter her fourth season as the women's tennis coach.

"When push came to shove, it was just too big a leap to go from Pittsburgh to California," Rush said. "The people in Texas were really friendly. They love football just like Pittsburgh people, and it just seemed like a better fit."

Rush played at Trinity under Hall of Fame coach Clarence Mabry and posted a .906 singles win percentage. The school was Division I at the time, though it's now a Division III school. She won the NCAA doubles championship in 1983 and was named the college women's player of the year in 1984 and 1985, winning a gold medal in doubles at the 1983 Pan American games, and attending the 1984 Olympics to represent America.

She grew up with lofty tennis goals and wanted to play at the collegiate level and professionally - but Rush also wanted to coach at Penn State. After her professional playing career as a top 20 singles and doubles player on the WTA Tour, advancing to the Wimbledon singles quarterfinals in 1986 and 1989, Rush moved to San Diego to raise her family. …

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