SKILLMAN, NJ (August 16) -- Another group of extraordinary student-athletes from college varsity tennis programs across the country will be honored for their service and leadership this weekend.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards are given annually to collegiate students who have shown great achievements on and off the court. A select group of accomplished student-athletes have been honored in this way since 1982. Ashe himself inaugurated the award and personally made the presentations until his tragic passing in 1993. For the past 20 years, former NYC mayor David Dinkins has given out these prestigious awards.
The award takes into account a player’s tennis accomplishments, scholastic achievements and extracurricular endeavors, and recognizes players who excelled on and off the court as Ashe did during his life. Sportsmanship, leadership and character are important criteria, as is giving back to the community.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards honors outstanding individuals in all collegiate tennis divisions at the regional and national level, including NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men's and women's players.
The 2013 ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards will be given on Saturday, August 24th. The national winners are honored during a special ceremony hosted by the USTA during Arthur Ashe Kids' Day inside Ashe Stadium.
The following day, the award winners are invited to a special luncheon honoring winners of the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) Arthur Ashe Essay Contest. One of Arthur Ashe’s many legacies is a network of youth-serving organizations that provide tennis and education for all. His wish was for the National Junior Tennis and Learning (NJTL) to be a resource for kids to develop skills for leadership and academic excellence.
Before the luncheon, the ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners get the opportunity to meet the NJTL contest winners and share knowledge from their college experiences. The college players will give the students advice on topics such as life as a collegiate tennis player and college applications.
2013 ITA/ARTHUR ASHE LEADERSHIP AND SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNERS
NCAA Division I – Men
Henrique Cunha, Duke University
Henrique was a three-year captain and during his career was a quiet and humble leader. 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, he left Duke as the greatest men's player in program history. Henrique was 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, he 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.
NCAA Division I – Women
Hannah Dake, US Air Force Academy
A three-time co-captain, Hannah 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. She is a two-time member of the Commandant's List and the Athletics' List. Hannah served as a Squadron Superintendent as well as a Squadron PEER. She devoted her time to a number of community service efforts including the Skyway Elementary Halloween Carnival and the Starfit Kids 5K Race. She also helped 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.
NCAA Division II – Men
Luke Joyce, Midwestern State University
Luke was active in the community by working with the Boys and Girls Club of Wichita Falls while also participating in the university’s Great Day of Service, an initiative in which students volunteer their time at local charities and organizations. He received academic honors including being named to the Provost Honor Roll and the Tri Beta Biology Honors Society.
NCAA Division II – Women
Paige Frost, Stonehill College
Along with having over 100 combined wins and multiple all-conference honors, Paige excelled as a role model to her teammates. She received the St. Thomas Aquinas Medal for having the highest cumulative grade point average on the team three-straight years and was honored at the Stonehill Senior Student-Athlete Awards Dinner with the Edward E. Martin Senior Scholar-Athlete Award.
NCAA Division III – Men
Erick DelaFuente, Trinity (Texas) University
Erick served as team captain the past two seasons. He was a two-time ITA All American and was named the ITA West Region Rookie Player of the Year for the 2009-10 season. Erick finished his academic career with a GPA of 3.4 and was involved with numerous community service projects including the San Antonio Children's Shelter, the San Antonio Animal Shelter, and Habitat for Humanity.
NCAA Division III – Women
Katie Cecil, Carnegie Mellon University
Last season Katie was a tremendous force on the court for the Tartans, playing at the top spots in singles and doubles and earning ITA All America honors for both. She spearheaded the athletic department's Light's On After-school Program, in which she served as a coach for local Pittsburgh youth. She carried a perfect 4.0 GPA in Biological Sciences/Neurosciences. Katie was also featured on the cover of NCAA Champions magazine, where her academic success was chronicled.
Alex Tarnow, Cornerstone University
Alex received academic awards such as the C. John Miller Business Leadership Scholarship, the Stewart-Woodward Accounting Scholarship, and consistently maintained a place on the University’s dean list. Alex was involved in several community service projects, served as the lone student on the University’s Financial Task Force committee, and was a member of ENACTUS, a competitive business club committed to helping to transform lives in the community.
NAIA – Women
Ashlan Allison, Olivet Nazarene University
Ashlan demonstrated tremendous leadership during her time at Olivet Nazarene. She has traveled abroad on mission trips to Guatemala and Haiti and also participated in several mission trips within the United States, one being a relief trip to aide Hurricane Katrina victims. Allison was active in her community by volunteering at church, local schools, nursing homes, independent living locations, the United Way, and she helped with various projects through her school’s business club.
Junior/Community College – Men
Brandon Wolf, Harford Community College
Brandon was actively involved in a number of community service projects along with being a tremendous leader for Harford Community College on the court. He was a supportive and caring teammate who helped his team grow stronger this past season. He served as a volunteer for activities such as church bingo, Our Daily Bread (the local soup kitchen), and collecting donations for the women’s shelter each Christmas.
Junior/Community College – Women
Tara-Beth Hall, Meridian Community College
As a Pre-Vet major, Tara-Beth carried a GPA of 3.87, earning her President’s list scholar honors and induction into the National Two-Year Honor Society. She also served as the President of her school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter for the past two years. Tara-Beth was also actively involved in her community, volunteering with the Special Olympics, the Salvation Army, Laurie’s Kids (a benefit for special needs children), and Love’s Kitchen, a local soup kitchen for the homeless.
About the ITA
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.