ITA Announces 2013 NCAA Division I National Award Winners
CHAMPAIGN, IL (May 21) -- The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the national award winners for NCAA Division I tennis today during a ceremony on the campus of the University of Illinois, in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Team Championships.
This year's ITA national award winners are:
2013 Men's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - Sam Winterbotham, University of Tennessee
ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - Chris Woodruff, University of Tennessee
ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year - Jarmere Jenkins, University of Virginia
ITA National Rookie of the Year - Romain Bogaerts, Mississippi State University
ITA National Player to Watch - Mikelis Libietis, University of Tennessee
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Henrique Cunha, Duke University
ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award - Sebastian Fanselow, Pepperdine University
2013 Women's Award Winners:
Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - Jenny Mainz, University of Alabama
ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - Alex Santos, University of Miami (FL)
ITA National Senior Player of the Year - Lauren Embree, University of Florida
ITA National Rookie of the Year - Julia Elbaba, University of Virginia
ITA National Player to Watch - Ema Burgic, Baylor University
ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Hannah Dake, US Air Force Academy
ITA /Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship - Mary Weatherholt, University of Nebraska
Sam Winterbotham, the 2013 Wilson/ITA Men's National Coach of the Year, has guided the Tennessee program to great heights during his seven year tenure and this season has been no different. His Vols qualified for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship for a sixth consecutive season and peaked at number five in the ITA College Tennis Rankings. He guided his team to a second place regular season finish in the always competitive SEC and reached the conference finals for the third time in Winterbotham's Tennessee career. Winterbotham's coaching success continued on an individual level as sophomore Mikelis Libietis reached the number one ranking in singles and doubles in the ITA College Tennis Rankings and was named the SEC Player of the Year. His dedication to excellence has also been evident on the doubles court over the years as he has boasted the nation's top doubles team in four of the last five years.
Chris Woodruff, the 2013 ITA Men's Assistant Coach of the Year, has been instrumental in Tennessee's success this year, helping the Vols remain a constant presence inside the Top 10 of the ITA College Tennis Rankings. Throughout his career, Woodruff has been a major contributor in the development of several top ranked players including John-Patrick Smith, Rhyne Williams and now Mikelis Libietis. During his time with the Vols, Woodruff has coached 29 All-SEC players and 16 ITA All-Americans.
Jarmere Jenkins, the 2013 ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year, has proven to be one of the nation's elite players this season. In the fall he won the prestigious USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollege Championships singles title while also reaching the doubles finals of the ITA All-American Championships. He has consistently been ranked inside the Top five of the ITA College Tennis Rankings in both singles and doubles this year, peaking at number one in both rankings. Earlier this season Jenkins participated in the Master'U BNP Paribas, leading team USA to their third title in four years. In addition to guiding the Cavaliers to an unblemished regular season record, Jenkins has played a major role in Virginia's consecutive ACC-match win streak which continues to surpass the 100 match mark.
Romain Bogaerts, the 2013 ITA Men's National Rookie of the Year, entered the spring ranked sixth in the ITA Division I Men's Singles Rankings following a tremendous fall campaign that included a run to the finals in the always competitive USTA/ITA Southern Regional Championships. He has recorded 28 singles victories this season, with 15 of his wins coming in dual match play. Bogaerts was also voted the SEC Freshman of the Year along with earning All-SEC First Team honors.
Mikelis Libietis, the 2013 ITA Men's National Player to Watch, has consistently been one of the best all-around players in the nation this spring, earning the top seed in both the singles and doubles draws at the NCAA Championships. He recorded 35 singles victories this season and reached the quarterfinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships, his first national quarterfinal. He is currently ranked first in both singles and doubles in the ITA Division I College Tennis Rankings and was named the SEC Player of the Year.
Henrique Cunha, the 2013 Men's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winner, is a three-year captain and during his storied four year career has been a quiet and humble leader who leads by example. This past fall, Cunha became the first Brazilian-born player to be ranked number one in the ITA Division I Men's Singles Rankings and with nearly 300 combined wins, countless national honors, and multiple academic honors, Cunha will leave Duke as the greatest men's player in program history. He competes at a very high level, yet maintains class, sportsmanship, and strong character throughout all his matches. Cunha has been active in the community, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Durham, as well as the Duke Tennis Royal Blue Pro-Am. An ambassador for the sport of tennis, Cunha has a post-graduation ambition to introduce high school tennis in his home country of Brazil, which currently does not have team tennis programs at the high school level.
Sebastian Fanselow, the 2013 ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award recipient, has been an exemplar of leadership and sportsmanship over his four years with Pepperdine. Despite missing the majority of the fall season, Fanselow went on to reach the singles final of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and has clinched a Top 16 seed in this year's NCAA Singles Championship. He has tallied 75 dual season singles wins which ranks ninth in Pepperdine's storied tennis history. His sportsmanship over the years was recognized at the 2012 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships when he was named the USTA/ITA Sportsmanship Award winner. Off the court, Fanselow has been active in the community, volunteering his time at local churches and homeless shelters. Earlier this year the Pepperdine tennis program adopted a nine year old boy, Sully, who developed a rare and very serious case of cancer. Fanselow has developed a great relationship with Sully and his family, and in Coach Steinberg's words "is amazing with him and is very involved whenever he visits campus."
Jenny Mainz, the 2013 Women's Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year, has taken the University of Alabama program to new heights in recent years. This season the Crimson Tide never fell outside of the ITA Women's Team Rankings Top 10 for the first time in program history, while also reaching a new program-best ranking of No. 5. Mainz guided her team to the ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship for the first time in school history earlier this spring, while Alabama also advanced to the NCAA Championship round of 16 for the first time ever. The 21 wins the Tide compiled this season are the most ever under Mainz. Alabama also has four players with an ITA national singles ranking along with two doubles pairs. Four student-athletes earned All-SEC honors, including the SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive season.
Alex Santos, the 2013 ITA Women's National Assistant Coach of the Year, has helped the Hurricanes become one of the most consistent programs in the nation, reaching their fifth-straight NCAA Division I Women's Team Championship quarterfinal this season. Miami also claimed its first ACC Tournament title in program history this season after taking down regular season champion North Carolina in the semifinals. Santos also brings a wealth of strength and conditioning knowledge to the program which has helped the Hurricanes to become one of the fittest teams in the country each season, contributing greatly to their on-court success.
Lauren Embree, the 2013 ITA Women's National Senior Player of the Year, has continued her winning ways in her final season in Gainesville, as she is ranked No. 1 in the nation in the ITA Women's Singles Rankings and claimed the 2012 ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships singles crown. She is the top overall seed entering the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Singles Championships after an undefeated regular season. The Gator senior has compiled nearly 120 singles victories during her career while playing an integral role in Florida's back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012, providing the clinching point both years. Embree finishes her career a perfect 38-0 against SEC foes while also becoming the only three-time SEC Player of the Year in conference history.
Julia Elbaba, the 2013 ITA Women's National Rookie of the Year, began her rookie campaign in impressive fashion, winning 10 consecutive matches at the 2012 ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships to reach the finals before falling to Florida's Lauren Embree in three sets. She will head into the NCAA Division I Women's Singles Championship with a record of 34-10. She has played at the top two spots in the singles lineup the entire season, racking up 18 dual wins, including a 10-1 record in ACC play, earning her ACC Rookie of the Year honors. Elbaba was also very successful for the Cavaliers in doubles this season, finishing with an overall record of 29-8.
Ema Burgic, the 2013 ITA Women's National Player to Watch, has enjoyed a tremendous sophomore season for the Baylor Bears, totaling up an astounding 42 singles victories as the 10th-ranked player in the country. She ended the season on a 17-match winning streak in singles, as she closed out the dual match season with a mark of 25-5 at the top singles position. She has been one of the most consistent players in the country this year, beginning with her run from pre-qualifying to the main draw of the 2012 ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships. She is also ranked fourth in the nation in the ITA Women's Doubles Rankings with partner Victoria Kisialeva.
Hannah Dake, the 2013 Women's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship winner, has helped contribute to a number of firsts in Air Force women's tennis history. The three-time co-captain was part of the first Air Force doubles pair to win a round at the ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships, along with helping her team finish with a winning record for four consecutive seasons, a feat never before accomplished in the history of the program. She finished her career with a total of 85 doubles victories, the second most of any Air Force player. She is a two-time member of the Commandant's List and the Athletics' List. Dake served as a Squadron Superintendent as well as a Squadron PEER, making herself readily available as a go-to person for any cadet who is having problems or needs advice. During her career at Air Force she devoted her time to a number of community service efforts including organizing cadets to help out with the Skyway Elementary Halloween Carnival and the Starfit Kids 5K Race. She also spent time to help raise money for causes such as the March for Babies, which raises funds and awareness for premature babies, and the 5K Buddy Walk, which raises funds for children with Down Syndrome.
Mary Weatherholt, the 2013 ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship recipient, has had a great year on the court for the Cornhuskers, qualifying for both the NCAA Division I Women's Singles and Doubles Championships thanks to being ranked No. 11 in singles and No. 3 in doubles. She has served as team captain for Nebraska the last three seasons, inspiring her team with a motivational speech before each dual match. She is a born leader who has never failed to represent her university with class and dignity, always showing her opponent the highest level of respect. To honor her outstanding career, Weatherholt was named the 2013 University of Nebraska Female Student-Athlete of the Year earlier this season. She was also instrumental in helping the women's tennis team earn the University of Nebraska's Herman Award, which is given to the team with the highest overall GPA.
For a full list of NCAA Division I Regional award winners, click here.
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 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.