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Women's Tennis - Mon, Sep. 3, 2012

FLUSHING MEADOWS, N.Y. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) recognized recipients of the 2012 Arthur Ashe Jr. National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards along with the 2012 ITA Collegiate All-Star Team at the ITA Awards Luncheon hosted by the United States Tennis Association (USTA).  Jordan Kimura of Concordia (CA) was one of the recipients of this prestigious award.

A native of Laguna Nigel, Calif., Kimura is the founder of Project Joy, which raises money for special needs children.  A talented artist, Jordan produces complimentary portraits for people who request them, then gives back 100 percent of the optional monetary donations to kids with Down Syndrome and Autism.  Kimura is a four-time ITA All-American (twice in singles, twice in doubles) and managed to earn a bachelor's degree in graphic design and a master's in business administration during her four years of eligibility.  She started her own graphic design business and has begun post-baccalaureate studies towards a doctorate degree.

 

The presentation took place in the President's Suite Dining Room as part of Arthur Ashe Kids' Day activities (Aug. 25) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.  Jon Vegosen, Chairman of the Board and President of the USTA, David A Benjamin, ITA Executive Director, and David Dinkins, former Mayor of New York City and a member of the USTA Board of Directors, were on hand to present the awards.

 

The ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship Award takes into account a player's tennis accomplishments, scholastic achievements and extracurricular endeavors.  Just as Arthur Ashe was a great player and humanitarian, this award (which dates to 1984) recognizes players who excelled on and off the court during their college careers. Sportsmanship, leadership and character are also important criteria.

 

The 29th ITA Collegiate All-Star Team includes the nation's top-ranked men's and women's players from the year-end Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and NJCAA levels, as well as winners of the 2011 USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships and 2012 NCAA Division I Championships.

 

ARTHUR ASHE LEADERSHIP AND SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD WINNERS

 

NCAA Division I

Ryan Thacher – Stanford University

Thacher worked with the East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutorial Program, spending 10 hours per week during the season tutoring underprivileged children.  He also earned the 2012 ITA Northwest Region Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award and served as Stanford's team captain for two seasons.  A Studio City, Calif., native, Thacher established himself as one of the top doubles players in the nation, reaching the NCAA Division I Finals in 2011.  Upon graduating with a 3.9 grade-point average in history, he was awarded an NCAA postgraduate scholarship.  Thacher plans on becoming a pediatric surgeon or trauma specialist after playing pro tennis.

 

NCAA Division I

Caroline Newman – College of Charleston

Newman recorded more than 150 victories in singles and doubles combined, helping the Cougars to four Southern Conference titles.  She took part in a Heart for Africa Medical Mission trip to Swaziland, Africa, traveling to rural villages and treating over 400 patients during a five-day span.  She also participated in an inner city tennis program, introducing tennis to economically-challenged children and mentored youths in the Win4Life motivational program.  In addition to volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, Newman helped organize a dog show that raised money for Pet Helpers, a local animal shelter in Charleston.  The Greenboro, N.C. native owns a 4.0 GPA as a pre-medicine major.  Her sister, Catherine, was a national Ashe Award winner for Vanderbilt in 2010.

 

NCAA Division II

Tyler McCullough – West Liberty University

McCullough led West Liberty to its third NCAA Division III Atlantic Regional Tournament berth in 2012.  He worked alongside other West Liberty student-athletes to organize games and activities for local children and found time during weekends to provide tennis lessons to local children.  Despite battling injuries, he became the first student-athlete from the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference to win a major ITA award.  Hailing from Wheeling, W.Va., McCullough was a member of two honor societies, posting a 3.5 GPA in accounting.

 

NCAA Division II

Kara Murphy – Bentley University

Murphy posted 100 career singles wins and is a two-time All-Northeast-10 Conference Academic selection. She has been involved with Relay for Life in support of the American Cancer Society and Light the Night, a walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  She volunteered with The Wish Project and Cradles to Crayons, helping secure needed items such as clothing, furniture and home goods.  An ITA Scholar-Athlete in 2012, Murphy helped run a hydration station at the Boston Marathon.  The Worcester, Pa., native finished her undergraduate work a semester early and is working towards a master's in accounting.

 

NCAA Division III

Will Petrie – Williams College

A Columbus, Ohio native, Petrie has taken part in writing workshops and math tutoring at Williams and served as a Peer Academic Mentor for five fellow students.  He is a member of the Best Buddies program – working with underprivileged and mentally and/or physically challenged individuals from the Williamstown, Mass., area.  Petrie has served as co-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and as a two-year captain, led his team to back-to-back semifinal appearances at the NCAA Championships.  During all this, Petrie found time to complete a 120-page English thesis on Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.

 

NCAA Division III

Cze-Ja Tam – Carnegie Mellon University

Tam registered over 100 wins in singles and doubles combined.  Greatly touched by a visit to Kenya, Tam started a non-profit organization called Showers of Grace, which provides school supplies for children in Africa and China.  To date, she has helped raise over $100,000 dollars, organizing fundraisers ranging from bake sales to car washes.  She has also made mission trips to Kenya and Mongolia, teaching English and bible stories to orphans.  Tam volunteers at the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital and on the court has been called the most unselfish player her coach has ever seen.  She is from Palos Verdes, Calif.

 

NAIA

David Spennare – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Spennare earned All-Sun Conference Second Team honors in 2012.  He has worked with Habitat for Humanity, cleaned local beaches, visited nursing homes during the holidays and purchased Christmas presents for underprivileged kids.  Spennare, who grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden, serves as a member of his school's Student Athlete Leadership Team and was honored with the NAIA Champions of Character Award in 2012.  A business major with a 3.92 GPA, he was also recognized as an ITA Scholar-Athlete in 2011.

 

NAIA

Jordan Kimura – Concordia University-Irvine

A native of Laguna Nigel, Calif., Kimura is the founder of Project Joy, which raises money for special needs children.  A talented artist, Jordan produces complimentary portraits for people who request them, then gives back 100 percent of the optional monetary donations to kids with Down Syndrome and Autism.  Kimura is a four-time ITA All-American (twice in singles, twice in doubles) and managed to earn a bachelor's degree in graphic design and a master's in business administration during her four years of eligibility.  She started her own graphic design business and has begun post-baccalaureate studies towards a doctorate degree.

 

Junior/Community College

Simon Bardell – Meridian Community College

Cited for displaying outstanding sportsmanship by his coach, Bardell's demeanor on the court doesn't change whether winning or losing.  The Beulah, Australia native has been involved in the Salvation Army Christmas Angel Tree project and the American Cancer Society in its fight against breast cancer.  He also contributed time to Love's kitchen, a local soup kitchen and assisted with numerous tennis clinics on campus.  Bardell owns a 3.43 GPA working towards a degree in sports medicine.

 

Junior/Community College

Gienna Gonnella – Santa Rosa Junior College

Gonnella was ranked in the top 30 as a freshman in the Campbell/ITA rankings. She volunteered at Bob Burke's Children's Foundation, using her musical gifts to bring joy to clinically-ill children. She also spent the past year volunteering at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and has devoted over 100 hours to Santa Rosa Junior College summer camps and the Girl Scout Expos, a program designed to introduce tennis to the masses.  The Sebastopol, Calif., product attended every team fundraising event and never missed a practice during her career.  For her senior service project, Gonnella hosted a tennis camp for local kids in West Sonoma County.

  

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.