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Three USTA Southern Section Collegiate Players Honored with ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship

June 6, 2003 04:06 PM

Trevor Smith, Kristen Stubbs and Erica Proko, all from the USTA Southern Section, were included on the list of eleven winners of the 2003 ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship. The award recipient announcement was made by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association during a banquet at the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships in Athens, GA the night of Wednesday, May 21.

As the NCAA Division I award winners, Trevor Smith, a senior at Princeton University, and Kristen Stubbs, a senior at Virginia Tech University, will be honored in Forest Hills, NY, at the West Side Tennis Club on August 22. On August 24, a special reception will be held for them at the home of former New York City Mayor David Dinkins. All other winners, including Division III winner Erica Proko will be given a plaque and certificate acknowledging the honor.

The purpose of this award, which began in 1984, is to honor Arthur Ashe and his vision. Throughout his lifetime he touted the importance of education, sportsmanship and leadership. Tennis opened the door of higher education for Ashe. Tennis and college offered him a springboard into a life of vast achievement - first as a world-class athlete, then as an educator and international humanitarian.

The ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award winners are chosen based on the following criteria: tennis playing accomplishments, scholastic and extracurricular achievements; sportsmanship, leadership and character; humanitarian concern and accomplishments. The recipient must be a junior or senior enrolled for one full year prior to present term.

Trevor Smith

Trevor Smith
Trevor Smith, a senior at Princeton University, is from Hilton Head, SC. He is an ITA Scholar-Athlete and has been active in the Athletes in Action program and a Special Olympics volunteer. This past season he was team captain for the Tigers while playing No. 1 singles. Smith was also a nationally-ranked doubles player and regionally-ranked in singles.

Smith's father, tennis legend Stan Smith, was a personal friend of the late Arthur Ashe when they were both among the top players in the world.

Kristen Stubbs

Kristen Stubbs

Kristen Stubbs, a senior at Virginia Tech University, is also from Hilton Head, SC. A Health Nutrition Foods and Excercise major, Stubbs finished the 2002-2003 season ranked No. 117 in singles and has been team captain of the Hokies for the past three years.

She participates in several community service programs geared towards the Blacksburg, West Virginia youth community, including: Winning Choices, Virginia Tech athlete nights at local elementary schools, Hokie Reader and the Virginia Tech Speaking Committee. She also served as Vice President of the Virginia Tech Student Athlete Advisory Committee and was selected by the NCAA to attend the leadership conference in Orland, Florida in 2002. Last year as a junior she received the ITA East Region Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award.

Erica Proko
Erica Proko

Erica Proko, from Charlotte, NC, is the Division III women's winner and a senior at Washington & Lee in Lexington, VA. This past season Proko led Washington & Lee to the NCAA Division III team final and finished No. 3 in the final ITA Rankings in singles and doubles, reaching the semifinals in both NCAA Division III individual championships. She has earned ITA All-America honors all four years at Washington & Lee and has garnered many accolades at the school, including the Robert E. Lee Honor Scholar, Phi Eta Sigma, ITA Scholar-Athlete, William Washburn Award and Verizon Academic All-America Team. She was also the NCAA's Student Athletic Advisory Committee's National Representative.

With plans to enroll in the UNC-Chapel Hill Medical School, Proko has been active in Breast Cancer Awareness programs. In her freetime she donated her services to the Rockbridge Free Clinic, which provides healthcare at little or no charge to low-income and uninsured persons. While at the clinic, she wrote a critical analysis that resulted in free access to dentistry for hundreds of thousands in the state of Virginia. She has also participated in research involving taste development, and specifically, how and why chemotherapy patients lose their ability to taste certain foods.

A complete list of ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship Award Winners is below:

Men's Winners
D1 - Trevor Smith, Princeton University
D2 - Ryan Dunne, Florida Southern College
D3 - Eric Butorac, Gustavus Adolphus College
NAIA - Georgi Beloretchki, Embry-Riddle University
JC - Dash Connell, Tyler Junior College
Calif JC - Matt Parker, Santa Rosa Junior College

Women's Winners
D1 - Kristen Stubbs, Virginia Tech University
D2 - Luiza Biktyakova, Georgia College & State University
D3 - Erica Proko, Washington & Lee University (VA)
NAIA - Liza Francis, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
JC - Suzanne Fry, Cowley County CC




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