Hamilton College men, Idaho women receive
April ITA National Team Sportsmanship Award
SKILLMAN, NJ (April 16) - The Hamilton College men's and University of Idaho women's tennis teams have been honored as the recipients of the 2014 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) National Team Sportsmanship Award for the month of April.
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 2004.
The Hamilton Continentals, a Division III program, are coached by Rob Barr, who is in his third season as the head men's and women's tennis coach.
Upon learning of his team's award, Coach Barr said, "I've always considered the sportsmanship award to be the highest honor a program can achieve. Sportsmanship is an integral part of the culture and philosophy of our team, and Hamilton athletics as a whole. This award is a real testament to the strength of character of the young men on the team and the pure enjoyment of good competition."
The Continentals recently lost a tough match at home to St. Lawrence after coming from 4-2 behind to level the match at 4-4. In the deciding match, Hamilton player Matt Billet was in a winning position to clinch the victory for his team, but despite holding match points could not close out the match. Despite the tough loss, Billet showed great sportsmanship throughout the match as did the entire Hamilton team afterward despite the tough loss, and all congratulated the winning St. Lawrence team.
Barr said of that match, "Each year you win and lose matches that come down to the final match. These are the special ones, the matches that are most exciting; the ones you will remember. The match against St. Lawrence was one of these. Five of the six singles matches went three sets. With the match tied at 4-4, it was fitting that the final match came down to a third-set tiebreaker. Courageous shot-making and a very high level of play was displayed by both men throughout. The team match began around 4:45pm and the last ball was struck at 12:30am. It was exciting and great fun. Win or lose, these are the matches we love to play."
The Idaho Vandals, a Division I school, are coached by Director of Tennis Jeff Beaman, who is in his ninth year at Idaho.
Coach Beaman is covering both the men's and women's tennis teams this spring and spoke at what the award meant to the Idaho tennis program "It's a great honor to get this award. The women's program has dealt with transition really well as their coach left before the start of the season. They have dealt with the situation well and achieved the highest ranking in program history of No. 51 earlier this spring."
In addition to their on-court successes, which is a 16-4 record so far this season, the Vandal women's team was praised for continuously outstanding behavior and politeness to opponents, event management staff and officials.
Beaman said the assistant coaches have done a top job in leading the team this spring. He cited both Associate Head Coach Art Hoomiratana and Student Assistant Coach Abid Akbar as key to the team's success. "Art volunteered with the programs in the fall and did an excellent job as an assistant in both our programs; and Abid is a past team captain who does a great job with our women's team. He's really embraced the role and does a great job motivating the team."
"We try to mentor the players on focusing on the right things and going about things the right way," Beaman added. "I feel lucky to have worked with this group of fine young women and be a part of their commitment to reaching goals and doing it the right way."
About the ITA
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing men's and women's varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men and women varsity players, coaches and teams in all divisions, providing recognition for their accomplishments on and off the court. For more information on the ITA, visit the ITA website at www.itatennis.com, like the ITA onFacebook or follow @ITAtennis on Twitter.