North Allegheny’s Catanzarite claims silver at national clay court event
It still is not the color she wants, but Ava Catanzarite of Franklin Park earned a silver ball at the U.S. Tennis Association Girls’ 16 National Clay Court Championships on July 15-22 in Memphis.
Catanzarite, 15, teamed with Sydni Ratliff of Ohio to place second in doubles.
Catanzarite won bronze after coming in third with a partner from Maine at the National Winter Championships last December and January.
Gold, silver and bronze balls are awarded to the top finishers at national championship tournaments.
Catanzarite, who will be a sophomore at North Allegheny, hopes to capture gold before graduating from high school.
Catanzarite and Ratliff, who were seeded 10th, came close, losing in three sets to 15th-seeded Elise Wagle of New York and Valenica Xu of New Jersey. They won five matches to reach the final, including a three-set decision in the semifinals.
“It was disappointing to not grab gold, but we were so proud that, as the 10-seed, we got the silver ball,” Catanzarite said.
In singles, Catanzarite lost in three sets in the quarterfinals.
Catanzarite said she prepared for many months and countless hours a day for the tournament.
“In Pittsburgh, there really aren’t many clubs that have clay,” she said. “I traveled all over the city, every day, just to train.”
Her coach, Brandon Anandan of Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood, believes it is just a matter of time before Catanzarite gets a gold ball.
He said she is one of the most talented girls he has coached.
Catanzarite, who ranks 18th in the nation in her age group, has been busy.
“My entire summer was spent either on a tennis court or driving to them in a car, or flying to them by plane,” she said.
Catanzarite, the top college prospect in her class in Pennsylvania according to the Tennis Recruiting Network, helped North Allegheny to WPIAL and PIAA Class AAA titles last season.