Finalists Chosen for 2020 ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award


The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) is proud to announce the five finalists for the 2020 ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award. Meible Chi (Duke), Emma Kassan (Swarthmore), Daniel Park (Claremont-Mudd-Scripps), Ariadna Riley (Tennessee), and Greg Sovie (Principia) are still in the running for the Association’s highest student leadership award.

The ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award endowed by Billie Jean King was created to honor a recent college graduate who played college tennis and demonstrated excellence on and off the court, leadership on his or her team as well as on his or her college campus and in his or her community. The recipient of the award will have demonstrated grit (i.e. passion and perseverance towards long-term goals), a commitment to social justice and equality and will have pushed others to be leaders in addition to demonstrating his or her own leadership.

The prestigious award is entering its third year  – the previous winners were Andrew Akins of Duquesne (2019) and Nithya Kanagasegar of Case Western Reserve (2018).

After reviewing the finalists’ materials – personal statement, resume, letters from their coach, teammate and institution’s President – the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award Selection Panel will select the winner. In addition to the winner being awarded a post-graduate scholarship, the ITA will make a $1000 donation to the award winner’s college  tennis program. It is the ITA’s hope that the winner will be announced in June and honored at a special awards ceremony during the 2020 ITA Leadership Weekend in New York City in August. The ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award winner will join the ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award recipients during the service-based weekend to celebrate how service in tennis moves our sport and the tennis community forward.

“Our sport and Association remain ever grateful for the vision and extraordinary presence of Billie Jean King and Ann Lebedeff, both inspirations to the worlds of tennis and higher education,” ITA Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Timothy Russell, remarked. “What an extraordinary pool of candidates we have for this year’s Award.  Congratulations to each and all of our finalists.”

The ITA and our country  are both stronger because of the work ethic and commitment to service of our outstanding ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award finalists.

Meible Chi | Duke University

  • Worked with children in China in a sport and academic setting
  • Shadowed at the Duke University Hospital
  • Served as captain of Duke Women’s Tennis
  • Promoted community engagement through the ACE program

Emma Kassan | Swarthmore College

  • Two-year member of Swarthmore’s SAAC
  • Founded tennis program for special needs students
  • Taught tennis to children

Daniel Park | Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges

  • Co-captain for CMS Men’s Tennis
  • Partnered with RxAll to address the counterfeit drug epidemic in Nigeria
  • Prepared food for homeless at Pomona Promise
  • Taught P.E. classes at local elementary

Ariadna Riley | University of Tennessee

  • Served on VOLeaders to develop leadership skills
  • Shared sport to children in Ecuador 
  • Human rights activist
  • Tennessee women’s tennis team received the 2017 National Community Service Award

Greg Sovie | Principia College

  • Gave speeches on battling adversity
  • Served on Principia’s SAAC
  • Captain of Principia Men’s Tennis
  • Volunteered with local Boys and Girls Club

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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