Six Panthers honored as ITA Scholar-Athletes
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University women's tennis team and six individual student-athletes were among those recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) on Thursday as the organization announced its 2019 All-Academic Teams and Scholar-Athletes.
Plymouth State, led by 15-year veteran head coach Barbara Rawlsky-Willett, claimed ITA All-Academic Team honors for a fifth-straight year. The award is open to any ITA program across all five divisions of collegiate tennis (NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO) that has a cumulative team grade point average of a 3.20 or better on a 4.00 scale. All varsity letter winners are factored into the cumulative team GPA for the current academic year (Fall 2018 and Spring 2019).
Additionally, six individual team members were named ITA Scholar-Athletes; seniors Irene Kigugu (Concord, N.H.) and Megan Wheeler (Manchester, N.H.), sophomore Emily Hill (New Hartford, Conn.) and freshmen Brie Hada (Alton, N.H.), Julie Miller (Woburn, Mass.) and Lexi Smith (Rindge, N.H.). ITA Scholar-Athletes must be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of at least 3.50 on a 4.00 scale for the current academic year and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters. Hill and Wheeler are two-time honorees, while Kigugu earns the distinction for a third time.
"I am so very proud of this team and the players that achieved Scholar-Athlete status," said Rawlsky-Willett. "This team shows what the NCAA Division III program is all about – success in the classroom as well as on the tennis court."
Plymouth State was the lone Little East Conference (LEC) program to be named an All-Academic Team, while six student-athletes from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth also earned Scholar-Athlete status.
Last fall the Panthers finished with a 12-3 record, securing the second-most wins in a season all-time, while marking the first time in program history that the team finished with double-digit wins in consecutive years. PSU went 8-1 in LEC play to earn the No. 2 seed for the LEC Tournament, then advanced to the championship match with a 5-4, come-from-behind win in the semifinals. PSU fell to Rhode Island College in the championship match, 5-1, though the Panthers were leading in each of the three unfinished matches when play was stopped.
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