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Wofford, Alabama receive ITA National Team Sportsmanship Awards

SKILLMAN, N.J. - The Wofford men's and Alabama women's tennis teams have been honored as March’s recipients of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award, the ITA announced today.

The ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award is a monthly award that goes to one men's and one women's team that has exemplified outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis. The winners are selected by the ITA Ethics and Infractions Committee from nominations received from all ITA member institutions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community Colleges). This monthly award began in 2003. In addition to the obvious reasons, sportsmanship and fair play are considered important in college tennis due to the fact that players make their own line calls during a match.

Wofford College is a NCAA Division I school, coached by Rod Ray and located in Spartanburg, SC. While Coach Ray and the Wofford tennis program are highly-respected in their region for their character and fair play, the actions provided to in-state rival USC Upstate by the Wofford staff in a time of need went well beyond the call of duty. Four days prior to the USC Upstate Fall Tennis Tournament, USC Upstate Head Coach Alessandro De Marzo had a family emergency that required him to return to his home in Lima, Peru. De Marzo turned to Coach Ray and his team, who took over the men’s half of the tournament with no hesitation and hosted and supervised the two-day event at Wofford’s tennis courts.

The University of Alabama is also a NCAA Division I school, coached by Jenny Mainz and located in Tuscaloosa, AL. While participating in the Wildcat Invitational, Coach Mainz had to leave due to a death in the family the night before the tournament began. With heavy hearts, the team played every match during the course of the tournament with incredible passion and energy while exhibiting sportsmanship that truly represented themselves as ambassadors of the sport.

As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship. The official ITA website is www.itatennis.com.