April 9, 2003
SKILLMAN, N.J. - Ten players and two coaches have been selected by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association as part of an ITA All-Star Team representing the United States in Japan this June 12-16.
This ITA All-Star Team will help Waseda University celebrate its 100th anniversary of tennis by competing in two exhibition matches in Tokyo. Matches are scheduled to take place at Ariake Stadium, which holds a capacity of 10,000 spectators. On June 14 the All-Stars will face Waseda University, which earned the No. 1 ranking in Japan last year, and on June 15 they will face a Japanese All-Star Team. Both matches will use a format similar to the one World Team Tennis uses, which features men and women competing together on the same team in men's and women's singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
The ITA All-Star Team, which includes men and women from all the ITA's divisions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College), will be coached by Bob Bayliss of Notre Dame and Ann Lebedeff of Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) Colleges. The ten players selected are: Adam Davidson of Azusa Pacific (Calif.), Amer Delic of Illinois, Ryan Dunne of Florida Southern, John Paul Fruttero of California, Mary Ellen Gordon of Emory (Ga.), Raquel Kops-Jones of California, Jewel Peterson of Southern California, Leslie Stewart of Tyler (Texas) Junior College, Sara Walker of UCLA and Todd Widom of Miami (Fla.)
Bayliss and Lebedeff are two of the most respected coaches in collegiate tennis today. Both are past Wilson/ITA National Coaches of the Year and ITA/Rolex Meritorious Service Award winners, which honors ITA coaches for outstanding service and contributions to the association.
This year's team includes two Academic All-Americans (Dunne and Kops-Jones) and four players who have reached national finals in singles or doubles (Delic, Gordon, Peterson and Stewart). All ten players are also on teams that have been ranked in the top 25 of the Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings this season in their respective divisions.
"This will be a wonderful opportunity for college tennis and we feel very fortunate to have been invited by Waseda University to take part in this special event," ITA Executive Director David Benjamin said.
Criteria for the player selections included: the player's national ranking(s); sportsmanship, leadership and character; and tennis playing accomplishments, honors and awards. Coach selections were based on: overall coaching accomplishments and special achievements; sportsmanship, leadership and character; and contributions to community activities/ITA meritorious service. The selections were made by the ITA Board of Directors
As the governing body of collegiate tennis the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, presented by the USTA, and the Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Rankings for men's and women's tennis 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 website is itatennis.com