WSMRA Update November 2021
by Kendra Tutsch, Terry Rogers, and Cindy Tilbury
In January 2020, the WSMRA started its fourth decade of competition at Vetta Racquet Sports in St. Louis. Tournament Director Shari Coplen along with Dan Whitley and the Vetta staff put on a great event!
We don’t have to dwell on what happened next.
So, after a year off due to pandemic postponement, the Women’s Senior/Masters National Championships are back! The tournament will be held January 14-16, 2022, at Recreation ATL in Lilburn GA (Atlanta area). There will also be the usual “fun doubles" on January 13, which will be a fundraiser for breast cancer research as well as a chance to check out the courts and the club. Jason Chan and his amazing team at Recreation ATL were able to save the date for this tournament for an entire year and our Tournament Directors Cindy Tilbury and Lynn Fonseca (our Atlanta host) worked hard to ensure the tournament would still be held! We also appreciated the understanding of Fran Davis and ball sponsor Head/Penn. (Incidentally, the 6th Annual Women’s Senior/Masters was held in 1995 at the same club, with Tournament Directors Vickie Luque and Liz Lyon.) We expect a big turnout of Atlanta and East Coast players, since this is the first time in many years we have been on the East Coast after a string of tournaments in the West and Midwest.
There will be round robin competition in singles––both age Open/A and age + skill (B/C) divisions––and doubles in age group and skill divisions. You can enter one singles and one doubles or, alternatively two doubles divisions- one age and one skill. Find all the information and enter online at https://www.r2sports.com/tourney/home.asp?TID=36400. The entry deadline is January 8, 2022. There will be additional information on the Women’s Senior/Masters Facebook page as it becomes available. Please note: Hotel accommodations must be reserved by December 23, but book now so more rooms can be reserved if necessary. Atlanta (airport code ATL) is a Delta hub, and flights should be easy to find.
The Women's Senior/Masters Racquetball Association (WSMRA) is an organization dedicated to promoting racquetball as a lifetime sport. Members are women 35 and over who wish to compete on a high level but have fun at the same time. The WSMRA sponsors an annual national women’s tournament of self-refereed, round robin play within age groups. All match results from the tournament count in the USAR ranking system. In this tournament you will not only find yourself competing against some of the best women players in the country, but you will have a great time. We stress fun, friends, and good sportsmanship.
Our first tournament was in the spring of 1990 at Supreme Court in Madison, Wisconsin. After another year in Madison and a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina, the ladies decided that we needed to keep this tournament going, so at the fourth tournament (St. Louis), the Women’s Senior/Masters Racquetball Association was founded, thanks to the efforts of Nancy Butts. The first Board members were Mary Low Acuff, Linda Grambow, Merijean Kelley, Laurel Davis, Jo Kenyon, Nancy Kronenfeld, Kathy Mueller, Bev Powell, and Kendra Tutsch. The Board realized we needed to hold the tournament in different parts of the country to introduce as many women as possible to this wonderful tournament format of round robin age group play. We have held it from Florida to California, from Georgia to Indiana, from Illinois to Texas. Special thanks goes to all of the clubs, tournament directors, and players who have supported and contributed to the success of the tournament. Over the years we have developed traditions like our Saturday night banquet, fun doubles, silent auction, and in 2015, doubles were added to the main tournament. Players are always encouraged to come early or stay after the tournament to enjoy the local sights.
Our current Board of Directors consists of Kendra Tutsch, Merijean Kelley, Terry Rogers, Paula Sperling, Cindy Tilbury, Linda Moore, and Jean Halahan. Board advisors are Nancy Kronenfeld, Debbie Tisinger-Moore, and Jane Snyder.
Here’s what some Board members have to say:
Kendra Tutsch, Chair - “I played in the first one back in 1990, where I remember having an epic battle with Pauline Kelly, and I was hooked on the fun and the format, where you are never out of the draw. I have played in all but one since then. I have made many lifetime friendships and had the pleasure of visiting many new cities. It will be great to resume this tournament in Atlanta.”
Terry Rogers, Tournament Chair - “I remember shortly after I moved from Buffalo to San Francisco, Merijean Kelley asked me if our club, Royal Athletic Club at the time, would be interested in hosting the 1996 WSMRA tournament. Little did I know I would be hooked, attending every tournament since then and hosting again in 2004. There is not a better event for the Women of Racquetball!”
From our intrepid Tournament Director (of 2022 and many others) Cindy Tilbury - “I can't wait to host all of the ladies in Atlanta. Lynn Fonseca and I have been working hard to make this event happen and for it to be memorable. As usual, it is an independent club owner, Jason Chan, who has the perfect court setting for our national tournament: seven cement-walled courts and a great lounge area in front of the show courts. We couldn't have these events without amazing supporters like Jason! Come out early and play some extra racquetball or explore the area. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. If our event can help you promote your business or cause, let's talk about making that happen. See you in Atlanta in January!”
1990 group, Madison, WI. Photo courtesy of Pauline Kelly
1900 players Kathy Mueller and Pauline Kelly and future USAR Hall of Famer Mary Low Acuff at the first tournament. Photo courtesy of Kendra Tutsch.
1995 group, Atlanta, GA. Photo courtesy of Kendra Tutsch.
2020 group, St. Louis. Photo by Alan Weinstock.
2020 Court Divas with USAR President and Vetta Racquet Sports Host Dan Whitley: Jenniffer Hunter, Shari Coplen, Vikki Pickard, and Marie Gomar. Photo courtesy of WSMRA.
2022 Logo (designed by Frossene King). Courtesy of WSMRA.