FOREST HILLS, NY – With sunny skies and comfortable temperatures, the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, New York, proved to be the perfect backdrop on Friday for Oracle and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association to celebrate the accomplishments of 2014-15’s top collegiate tennis players at the 2015 Oracle/ITA Outing and Awards Luncheon. USTA Eastern participated as an event partner.
The 2015 ITA Collegiate All-Star Teams were recognized in an awards ceremony on Friday, as well as the ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners.
“The best of college tennis combines excellence on the court, in the classroom, and in life. The Oracle/ITA Outing and Awards Luncheon represents the best of the best in our sport,” said ITA CEO Timothy Russell. “The achievements of these amazing student- athletes bode well for the future of our country and the world. Congratulations to each and all of these remarkable young people. The ITA applauds all of their accomplishments and wishes them well in their life journeys.”
ITA Chairman of the Board, David Benjamin, joined Russell in presenting the ITA All-Star awards and recognizing the players’ accomplishments. Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins delivered a great speech on the meaning of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, in addition to presenting the award to the student-athletes.
“I’ve never been part an event like this, so it was really nice to be with other people who have accomplished something big throughout the last season,” said Baylor’s Julian Lenz, who garnered an All-Star award with doubles teammate from last season, Diego Galeano. “Being in New York and at this (tennis) club, there’s a lot of history here.”
Prior to the awards luncheon the student-athletes took to the West Side Tennis Club’s grass courts for some friendly competition, paired with members of USTA Eastern, the ITA staff and other invited guests.
“We don’t get the opportunity to play on grass courts often,” said Virginia’s Julia Elbaba, a 2015 ITA Collegiate All-Star honoree. “I had a lot of fun and it was a great experience.”
Inaugurated in 1984, the ITA All-Star Team honors the nation's top-ranked men's and women's players from the year-end Oracle/ITA Collegiate Tennis Rankings and spans the five competitive divisions: NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior & Community Colleges. Winners of the 2014 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and 2015 NCAA Division I Championships are also recognized.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. This award which dates back to 1982, goes to NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men's and women's players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
You can view the 2015 ITA Collegiate All-Star Team at http://www.itatennis.com/AwardsAndRankings/AllStarTeam.htm and the ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners at http://www.itatennis.com/Assets/ita_assets/pdf/Awards/2015+Ashe+Award+flipcard.pdf.