ITA Announces 2012 NCAA Division III National Award Winners
SKILLMAN, N.J. - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has announced the national award winners for NCAA Division III men's and women's tennis. The national winners are listed below, followed by a brief bio of their accomplishments.
This year's ITA national award winners are:
2012 Men's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - Scott Thielke, Kenyon
ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - Ross Wilson, Kenyon
ITA National Senior Player of the Year - Dillon Pottish, Emory
ITA National Rookie Player of the Year - Warren Wood, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
ITA National Player to Watch - Devin Nerenberg, UC Santa Cruz
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Will Petrie, Williams
2012 Women's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - Mike Morgan, Middlebury
ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - Michael Belmonte, Carnegie Mellon
ITA National Senior Player of the Year - Kristin Alotta, Williams
ITA National Rookie Player of the Year - Lok Sze Leung, Middlebury
ITA National Player to Watch - Katie Cecil, Carnegie Mellon
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Cze-Ja Tam, Carnegie Mellon
Now in his 16th season as the head coach, Scott Thielke, the 2012 Wilson/ITA National Men's Coach of the Year, has developed Kenyon into one of the top programs in NCAA Division III men's tennis. His squads have reached at least the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in four of the last five years, advancing to the Finals this season for the first time in program history. This year's team features no seniors on the roster, which further supports that Thielke has truly built a national program at Kenyon.
Ross Wilson, the 2012 ITA National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year, has helped Kenyon reach its highest ranking in program history; the team is currently fourth in the Campbell/ITA Division III Men's Team Rankings. He has been instrumental in keeping the program in the hunt for a national title each season, including 2010 when the team reached the Quarterfinals despite having to replace four starters. He has also taken over recruiting, bringing in one 4 star and two 3 star recruits for next season. Wilson is very involved with the faculty, giving clinics and doubles lessons to those who play tennis.
Dillon Pottish, the 2012 ITA National Men's Senior Player of the Year, has been one of the top players in Division III men's tennis for the past three seasons. He currently holds the school record for highest winning percentage in program history. He entered the NCAA Division III Championships with an unblemished record against divisional opponents this season, earning him the number one ranking in the Campbell/ITA Division III Men's Singles Rankings. Pottish collected three USTA/ITA Regional Singles Championships and two USTA/ITA National Small College Division III Singles Championships in his career. He was named the All-University Athletic Association Most Valuable Player for the third straight year earlier this spring.
Warren Wood, the 2012 ITA National Men's Rookie Player of the Year, has been one of the top players in the ITA West Region in both singles and doubles the entire season. He has been a solid competitor for his squad at the first singles position, collecting numerous wins over nationally-ranked opponents. In the fall, Wood reached the semifinals of the USTA/ITA West Regional Championship, along with making the quarterfinals of Ojai earlier this spring. He has also reached the 20 win plateau in doubles action, playing exclusively at number one with two different partners.
Devin Nerenberg, the 2012 ITA National Men's Player to Watch, finished the spring undefeated in dual matches against region opponents at the top singles position for UC Santa Cruz. He is currently ranked second in the Campbell/ITA Men's West Region Singles Rankings. He has been a leader for his team the entire year, both through his incredible sportsmanship and fierce competitive drive. He is also known to show a high degree of respect to every opponent he comes up against on the court.
Will Petrie, the 2012 Men's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship honoree, was at one point banned from his team's practices in order to allow his blistered feet to heal. This is symbolic of his on-the-go lifestyle, running from class to practice to his variety of community service projects to which he devotes his time. He has fittingly been the captain of his team for the least two seasons, helping lead Williams to the NCAA Division III Semifinals last season. He also serves as the Co-President of his school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, developing innovative ways to integrate the athletic department into the community in a variety of ways. Petrie is very gifted academically as well, spending countless hours tutoring other college students along with local high school students. He also is a member of the Best Buddies program, which pairs a student with an underprivileged and mentally and/or physically handicapped individual in the community. If all of this wasn't enough, he also had to find the time to diligently put together his 120-page English thesis.
Mike Morgan, the 2012 Wilson/ITA National Women's Coach of the Year, has taken his team to the next level in Division III women's tennis this year, leading his program into the top five of the Campbell/ITA Division III Women's Team Rankings. Middlebury defeated annual powerhouse Emory earlier this spring, the first victory over the Eagles in school history. His number one singles player claimed the Division III Singles title at the 2011 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships in Mobile, Ala. this past fall, as she has been one of the most dominant players in Division III all season. Morgan is involved in a number of committees and is truly a great ambassador for the sport of tennis.
Michael Belmonte, the 2012 ITA National Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, is in his fourth year as the assistant coach with Carnegie Mellon, helping the squads become a consistent presence in the top 10 annually. This season the team is currently ranked sixth in the Campbell/ITA Division III Women's Team Rankings, highlighted by an appearance in the ITA Division III Women's Team Indoor Championship finals, along with advancing to the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship. Belmonte is in charge of one-on-one sessions with the players. He also does a tremendous job of getting them warmed up and ready to come out playing their best doubles early in the match. Off the court, he has taken the initiative to lead the team in a community service project, as the team volunteered its time to give lessons to help promote tennis in the community.
Kristin Alotta, the 2012 ITA National Women's Senior Player of the Year, has played a crucial role in her team's national championship seasons in all four years of her collegiate career. She had a solid freshman year, earning All-NESCAC singles recognition. She helped her team claim the Division III Women's Team Championship that season by winning her singles match in the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Finals. She moved up in both the singles and doubles lineup her sophomore year, combining for a stellar 49 wins on the season, including winning the USTA/ITA Northeast Region Singles Championship. She was also named an ITA All-American singles player, along with excelling in the classroom, earning ITA Scholar Athlete honors. Her junior season was another successful year. She earned All-NESCAC singles honors for the third consecutive season, along with being named an ITA All-American singles player. She has saved perhaps her best season for her senior season en route to becoming just the second player in program history to reach 100 singles wins in a career. She is also known as the greatest source of on-court energy for her team, providing positive emotion to all of the other players in the lineup.
Lok Sze Leung, the 2012 ITA Women's National Rookie Player of the Year, made an immediate impact in Division III women's tennis this fall by claiming the 2011 USTA/ITA National Small College Division III Women's Singles draw in Mobile, Ala. She is currently the top-ranked singles player in the ITA Northeast Region, while also holding a top-15 doubles ranking in the region. She put together an undefeated spring campaign against Division III opponents to go along with her stellar doubles record of 12-1.
A player who continued to improve the entire season, Katie Cecil, the 2012 ITA National Women's Player to Watch, has worked her way up her squad's lineup, playing at the top spot in the most important time of the year. Her team faced a tough schedule that featured 13 nationally-ranked opponents; in those matches, she has posted a record of 11-2. Cecil was ranked third in the Atlantic South region in the most recent Campbell/ITA Division III Women's Regional Rankings. She has also improved greatly in doubles this season with a solid record of 21-7 overall.
Cze-Ja Tam, the 2012 Women's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winner is a very accomplished tennis player, amassing 115 singles and doubles victories against just 39 losses. She is a fierce competitor on the court, but always exhibits tremendous sportsmanship and plays fair. While her on-court achievements are impressive, what she does off the court makes her the ultimate teammate. She strings rackets for the team and volunteers to help with recruits when they come visit campus. Tam has performed well scholastically in her four years at her institution and will be enrolling in nursing graduate school at Columbia University next year. She has been very committed to charity work and community service since high school. She has started her own non-profit foundation, Showers of Grace, which provides school supplies for children in Africa and China; so far, this foundation has raised nearly $100,000. She also annually participates in the 30 Hour Famine, a cause which raises money for food for kids in third world countries around the world. Tam is also very involved with mission work, making mission trips to Kenya and Mongolia to teach English and Bible stories to orphans and seminary students. She also stays extremely active with her church, teaching Sunday School along with serving as a babysitter in the nursery.
For a full list of NCAA Division III Regional award winners, visit http://www.itatennis.com/AwardsAndRankings/Archives.htm.
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches representing over 1,200 institutions, administers numerous regional and national championships and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for over 20,000 college varsity student-athletes 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 web site is www.itatennis.com.