SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo men's and women's tennis teams were honored with ITA All-Academic Team accolades, it was announced Friday by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA). Additionally, nine men's and women's players were named ITA All-Scholar athletes, including five from the women's team and four from the men's squad.
"It is a great achievement for both teams to have this honor," said Head Coach James Bryce. "Each year our goal is to place our SA's on this list. It is a credit to their hard work in the classroom and dedication to their studies."
It's the third consecutive season the men's team has earned All-Academic team honors, while the women make their second consecutive appearance on the list.
The men, who finished the season ranked 13th in the nation, were one of 22 teams to receive the team honor, and only one of four Sunshine State Conference schools. Individually, four Lions earned a spot on the All-Scholar athlete list. All-SSC First Team member Matt Nicholson-Lewis led the group, which also consisted of All-SSC colleague Jake Fleischer, as well as Yves Jacobs and Tim Balz-Herrmann.
For the women, who finished the campaign with their highest ranking ever, twelfth, saw five players named All-Scholar, in addition to the team award. 2012 ITA All-America Laura Kemkes and Jeanette McDonald find themselves on the team for the second consecutive time, while Caroline Ebner, Samantha White, and freshman standout Maria Benkirane also joined the group.
The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All eligible student-athletes whose names appear on the NCAA/NAIA/NJCAA/CA JUCO eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity matches must average into the GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2011 and spring 2012).
In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman thorough senior year).
The Lions will return to the court in October for the beginning of Fall competition.
For more on the nationally-ranked men's and women's tennis teams, visit SaintLeoLions.com.