ITA Announces 2012 NCAA Division II National Award Winners
SKILLMAN, N.J. - The ITA has announced its 2012 national award winners for NCAA Division II men's and women's tennis. A list of the national winners is provided below, followed by a brief bio of their accomplishments.
2012 Men's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year – Derrick Racine, University of West Florida
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year – Eva Huning, Columbus State University
ITA Senior Player of the Year – Christian Hansen, Valdosta State University
ITA Rookie Player of the Year – Sven Lalic, Armstrong Atlantic State University
ITA Player to Watch – Georgi Rumenov, Armstrong Atlantic State University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship – Tyler McCullough, West Liberty University
2012 Women's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year – Simon Earnshaw, Armstrong Atlantic State University
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year – Maria Lopez, Barry University
ITA Senior Player of the Year – Yuan Jia, BYU-Hawaii
ITA Rookie Player of the Year – Sherry Liu, BYU-Hawaii
ITA Player to Watch – Paola Cigui, Columbus State University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship – Kara Murphy, Bentley University
Derrick Racine, the 2012 Wilson/ITA Men’s Coach of the Year, has his West Florida squad currently ranked second in the nation in the Campbell/ITA Division II Men’s Tennis Rankings with a record of 23-2. The Argos claimed the 2012 Gulf South Conference title and went undefeated in regional play in the always tough South Region.
Eva Huning, the 2012 Men’s Assistant Coach of the Year, has helped guide the Columbus State program to back-to-back semifinal appearances in the NCAA Division II Men’s National Championship. This year’s team has a record of 22-3, with the only losses coming to the top two teams in the nation. She was awarded ITA Region Coach of the year on the women’s side last season.
Christian Hansen, the 2012 ITA Men’s Senior Player of the Year, is responsible for top-ranked Georgi Rumenov’s only singles loss this season. He was also part of the doubles duo that claimed the Men’s Doubles draw at the 2011 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships in Mobile. The duo went on to play in the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, defeating a tandem from the University of Texas in the event.
Sven Lalic, the 2012 ITA Men’s Rookie Player of the year, was named the Peach Belt Freshman of the Year along with being selected to the Peach Belt All-Conference Second Team for both singles and doubles. He has an undefeated record in dual singles action, dropping only one set the entire spring. He has also been ranked in the top 30 in both singles and doubles nationally this season.
Georgi Rumenov, the 2012 ITA Men’s Player to Watch, earned Peach Belt Player of the Week honors on four separate occasions on the way to being named the Peach Belt Player of the Year. He is currently ranked No. 1 in both singles and doubles in the Campbell/ITA Division II Men’s Rankings. He has a record of 20-1 in singles play and 24-1 in doubles action on the season.
Despite being hampered with an injury that hindered his ability on the court, Tyler McCullough, the 2012 Men’s ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship honoree, remained a positive influence on his team through hard work and dedication. In his four years with the program, McCullough has always put the team’s goals first, making any sacrifice necessary to benefit his teammates. He also dedicated himself to excelling in the classroom, finishing his career with a GPA above 3.5.
Leading a young squad with only one senior to an undefeated record and a spot in the NCAA Championship Round of 16, Simon Earnshaw, the 2012 Wilson/ITA Women’s Coach of the Year, was named conference coach of the year for the sixth consecutive season. His squad took home the Peach Belt Conference title for the ninth time in a row earlier this season and is currently ranked third in the Campbell/ITA Division II Women’s Team Rankings.
Maria Lopez, the 2012 ITA Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year, is actively involved in all aspects of the tennis program at Barry and has done an excellent job in her two years as the assistant. She helped guide the program to its first ever national championship last season, and has helped this year’s squad to an undefeated season heading into the NCAA Championship Round of 16.
Yuan Jia, the 2012 ITA Women’s Senior Player of the Year, still holds an unblemished record in singles dual matches in her fourth season of collegiate competition at BYU-Hawaii, collecting an impressive 87 wins. She has an overall singles record of 102-3 and an overall doubles record of 109-3. Jia has never finished a season ranked outside the top 10 in either singles or doubles in the final Campbell/ITA Division II Women’s Rankings.
Putting together an absolutely dominating year of tennis in her rookie campaign, Sherry Liu, the 2012 ITA Women’s Rookie Player of the Year, is undefeated in both singles and doubles. In 21 singles matches, she has not surrendered one set to her opponents and has only dropped a total of 36 games. Her undefeated doubles record is highlighted by winning the Division II Women’s Doubles draw at the 2011 USTA/ITA National Small College Championships last fall in Mobile, Ala.
Though only a sophomore, Paola Cigui, the 2012 ITA Women’s Player to Watch, has posted an impressive 23-0 singles record while playing at the top position for Columbus State. She is currently ranked in the top 10 nationally in both singles and doubles in the Campbell/ITA Division II Women’s Rankings, with several wins over nationally-ranked opponents to her credit.
The captain of her squad for the second consecutive season, Kara Murphy, the 2012 Women’s ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winner, has once again provided her team with a consistent level of outstanding leadership despite facing adversity in the form of battling back from injuries. She continues to hold the highest GPA on a team with an overall GPA of 3.8. Murphy has also spent much of her time off the court volunteering with projects such as Cradles to Crayons and The Wish Project.
For a full list of NCAA Division II 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 iswww.itatennis.com.