North Allegheny tennis coach nets USTA award

Friday, January 26, 2018 | 11:00 PM

North Allegheny girls tennis coach Michelle Weniger capped an outstanding season with a prestigious honor.

Weniger is the recipient of the 2017 United States Tennis Association Middle States High School Coach of the Year ward, the organization announced recently.

Weniger led the Tigers to their fifth consecutive WPIAL Class AAA title team and fourth PIAA crown in five seasons in the fall. She guided her first PIAA singles champion, junior Ashley Huang, in 13 years at the helm.

Middle States, which gives the awards annually, recognized people in 14 categories from across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Sam Spina of Upper St. Clair won the Junior Volunteer Award.

Middle States spokesman Michael Gladysz said the high school coach category is competitive.

“I can speak for how impressed the (awards task force) was with Michelle and the impact she's had, in a multitude of ways, on her players,” Gladysz said, noting some strong Middle States players have come from North Allegheny.

Weniger said she was humbled and pleasantly surprised she won. “I thought about all of the teams, all of the girls I have (had) the pleasure of working with,” she said. Weniger said a teammate in a USTA League nominated her. Rosemary Garrity of Franklin Park said Weniger deserved the honor because of all the PIAA titles her teams have earned.

The Tigers also were PIAA champion in 2008. Huang is proud of her coach.

“Our team can be tough to handle sometimes, but she always has patience,” Huang said. “She has helped shape us into the kind people that we are on and off the court.”

Freshman Ava Catanzarite, who played No. 1 singles for the Tigers this past season, said Weniger is compassionate, positive and unselfish. North Allegheny athletic director Bob Bozzuto considers Weniger a role model for female athletes at the school.

“She is an extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and professional individual (who) understands the importance of being well-rounded,” he said. “(She) helps to balance the challenges that face our young people these days.”

Weniger, who is married and has grown children, also earned the Middle States Allegheny Mountain District High School Coach of the Year Award. She will be honored in a ceremony in June at Mt. Lebanon Tennis Center.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.


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