ITA Leadership Awards Weekend Opens Friday in New York

Leadership Award Weekend Graphic
The 2019 ITA Leadership Award Weekend is set to take place this week in New York.

TEMPE, Ariz. (August 20) – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) will honor 13 current and former college tennis players during the 2019 Leadership Awards Weekend later this week (August 23-25) in New York.

The 10 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners, 2019 NCAA Division I Male and Female Players of the Year and recipient of the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award Endowed by Billie Jean King will be recognized and participate in a full schedule of activities.

The weekend serves as a prelude to the start of the 2019 US Open main draw that begins Monday, August 26, at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium.

Highlights of the weekend include participation in the Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and an awards banquet inside the Empire State Building on Saturday before concluding with a community service event at the Cary Leeds Center for Tennis in the Bronx on Sunday.

The ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national levels. The award is presented annually to NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men’s and women’s players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.

The 2019 honorees include:

NCAA Division I Men – Isaac Perez (Air Force Academy)
NCAA Division I Women – Sophie Whittle (Gonzaga)
NCAA Division II Men – Robin Möller (Georgia College)
NCAA Division II Women – Paola Carpio (St. Edward’s University)
NCAA Division III Men – Julian Gordy (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps)
NCAA Division II Women – Mary Hill (Whitman College)
NAIA Men – Grant Esposito (Indiana Wesleyan University)
NAIA Women – Lizzie Bauss (Indiana Wesleyan University)
Junior College Men – Colten Way (Iowa Central Community College)
Junior College Women – Maddie Mitchell (Santa Barbara City College)

Nuno Borges, who concluded a standout All-American career at Mississippi State University last spring, is the 2019 NCAA Division I Male National Player of the Year, while University of Georgia sophomore Katarina Jokic is the NCAA Division I Female National Player of the Year. The honor is given to the top-ranked male and female in the season’s final Oracle ITA National Rankings.

Duquesne University’s senior men’s tennis player Andrew “Drew” Akins is the 2019 winner of the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award Endowed by Billie Jean King. The award was created in 2018 to honor a recent college graduate who played college tennis and demonstrated excellence on and off the court, leadership on his or her team and campus and in his or her community.

The ITA will return to New York on August 7 when it presents internationally renowned business executive Doug Conant with the 2019 ITA David A Benjamin Achievement Award.

The following are capsules on the 10 ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners. The ITA National Male and Female Players of the Year will be profiled on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, while the Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award recipient will be featured on Friday.


Isaac Perez, United States Air Force Academy
Completed collegiate career with 37-35 dual match singles record and 43-39 doubles mark . . . Became the third Air Force player in the last decade to post winning records in both categories, and was team captain his senior year . . . Earned a No. 9 regional doubles ranking as a junior . . . As a sophomore, served as an instructor in the Air Force’s Expeditionary Survival and Evasion Training course . . . As a senior year, selected to serve on the Cadet Wing staff, the highest level in the school’s chain of command, in the role of Public Affairs Officer where he was responsible for delivering timely and accurate information to the 4,000-cadet student-body through social media and other facets of technology . . . Served as the Vice Commander of the Falcon Sports Camps, overseeing a successful three-week operation of 16 unique sports with approximately 1,000 youth . . . Earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Legal Studies while minoring in philosophy and Spanish . . . A four-year member of the Hispanic Heritage Club and two-time recipient of the Coach Gugat “Attitude is Everything” Award . . . Competitively selected to attend an accelerated experimental pilot training program starting in September.

Sophie Whittle, Gonzaga University
Became Gonzaga’s first ITA National Champion after winning the 2018 ITA Riviera All-American Tournament. . . Spent time as the country’s No. 1 ranked player . . . Set school single-season school record with 29 wins and became Gonzaga’s first player to earn a berth into the NCAA Championships, competing in both singles and doubles . . . Named the ITA’s national recipient of the Most ImprovedSenior Award, West Coast Conference Player of the Year, and Gonzaga Athletics Female Senior Athlete of the Year . . . Concluded collegiate career as Gonzaga’s all-time wins leader in singles and doubles . . . Three-time WCC All-Academic Team selection and named to Gonzaga’s Dean’sList and WCC Commissioner’s Honor Roll multiple times . . . Three-year SAAC representative and team captain senior year . . . Helped team earn WCC Community Service Award . . . Nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year award . . . Earned a kinesiology and physical education degree with a concentration as a Fitness Specialist.


Robin Möller, Georgia College
Concluded junior season with a 30-8 singles record and30-9 doubles mark . . . Earned national NCAA Division II rankings of No. 17 (singles) and No. 3 (doubles) while competing at Georgia College . . . All-Peach Belt Conference in doubles (twice) and singles . . . Academic All-American, posting a 3.94 GPA as an exercise science major.

Paola Carpio, St. Edward’s University
Completed collegiate career with a 57-37 singles record and 44-24 doubles mark while competing four years at St. Edward’s University . . . Posted a 21-5 singles record and 23-8 doubles mark as a senior . . . Helped St. Edward’s University capture the Heartland Conference championship and competed at the NCAA Championship . . . Named to the Dean’s List each semester and Heartland Conference President’s Honor Roll each year . . . Also named ITA Scholar-Athlete all four years and Arthur Ashe Sports Scholar in 2017 . . . 2017 ITA Regional Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award and NCAA Division II Athletics Director Association Achievement Award . . . A two-time All-Heartland Conference first team selection.


Julian Gordy, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
Amassed a combined 157 career wins, posting records of 60-22 in singles and 97-44 in doubles . . . A three-time All-American in doubles and finished among the top 5 in all-time doubles wins for the Stags . . . Recorded a 20-11 singles and 31-13 doubles mark as a senior . . . A two-time winner in doubles at Ojai Valley Tournament . . . Concluded senior year with an NCAA Division III national doubles rankings . . . Helped Claremont-Mudd-Scripps reach the NCAA finals . . Led his team in volunteer efforts at local food shelters, providing and serving food to those in need, and at local elementary schools, helping coach physical education to local youth . . . Off of the court, Julian earned the Hank Krieger Award for CMS Athletics, given to the senior who most excelled in athletics, academics, and leadership . . . Four-time SCIAC Scholar Athlete and ITA Academic All American . . . Named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team as a senior. Majored in Economics & Accounting and graduated with top honors in the major . . . Posted a 3.80 GPA and Cum Laude honors.

Mary Hill, Whitman College
Concluded career with a 128-64 overall record . . . Earned ITA All-American honors in doubles and was ranked No. 6 nationally as a senior while serving as team captain . . . Completed year with a 14-3 singles record and 22-3 doubles mark . . . Ranked as high as No. 18 in singles during senior campaign . . . Three-time first team all-conference honoree . . . Received the Mignon Borleske Leadership Award and was nominated for the 2019 NCAA Woman of the Year . . . Received the Mu Chapter Lamp of Knowledge award for achieving a 4.0 semester GPA . . . Two-time NWC Scholar Athlete and ITA Scholar Athlete . . . Served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Elder Abuse Task Force for the Iowa Attorney General’s office.


Grant Esposito, Indiana Wesleyan University
Posted an overall singles record of 29-3 record, including an undefeated mark in NAIA singles dual match play while playing at the No. 2 and No. 3 positions . . . Registered a 29-9 doubles record while competing at all three positions . . . Teamed with partner to finish No. 9 in national rankings . . . Garnered ITA All-American status . . . A member of the Leadership Team at Indiana Wesleyan who mentors elementary school students . . . Maintains a 3.8 GPA and has made the Dean’s List every semester . . . Teaches the game of tennis to players of all ages in his hometown.

Lizzie Bauss, Indiana Wesleyan University
Earned ITA NAIA All-American honors in singles and doubles after posting a 26-4 singles record and 30-9 doubles mark as a junior . . . A three-time NAIA All-American and two-time NCCAA All-American . . . Holds an 86-16 career singles record and 99-28 doubles mark . . . Traveled with Indiana Wesleyan’s athletic department’s leadership development program to Montana this past June . . . A three-year team captain . . . Maintains a 3.91 GPA and has made the Dean’s List six consecutive semesters . . . Participated in a dance marathon that raised money for Riley Children’s Hospital . . . Mentored youth at the Boys and Girls Club for two years.


Colten Way, Iowa Central Community College
Overcame a near fatal head injury to have a solid 2018-19 season that culminated with a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Championships in Tyler, Texas . . . Advanced to the national quarterfinal in the singles main draw and round of 16 in doubles . . . Reached the final of the ITA National Fall Championships consolation finals in singles and doubles . . . Named to region first-team all-academic team . . . Participated with team in delivering Thanksgiving meals to the elderly and putting up windscreens at local tennis courts, and volunteered at the Almost Home Animal Shelter.

Maddie Mitchell, Santa Barbara City College
An All-Western State Conference selection for the Santa Barbara City College women’s tennis team in 2019 . . . Played at No. 5 singles . . . Helped SBCC to a 17-4 overall record and its first WSC Championship since 2001 . . . Team posted a 14-0 conference mark . . . Assumed a leadership role as team captain and a leader of the SBCC Captain’s Council . . . Helped lead the SBCC Trunk or Treat Halloween event, the program’s biggest community service event of the year. . . . Led a letter writing campaign to show support for Moorpark College athletics when they were dealing with tragedies around their campus in the fall . . . Helped with the SBCC Vaqueros “I’m Walking” campaign that promotes walking at graduation among fellow student-athletes . . . 2019 Louise Lowry Davis Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship from the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table . . . Helped SBCC to a 31-9 record in her two seasons.

About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is committed to serving college tennis and returning the leaders of tomorrow. As the governing body of college tennis, the ITA oversees men’s and women’s varsity tennis at NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College divisions. The ITA administers a comprehensive awards and rankings program for men’s and women’s 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, like the ITA on Facebook or follow @ITA_Tennis on Twitter and Instagram.

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