The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) has announced its national award winners for NCAA Division I tennis during a ceremony on the campus of the University of Georgia, in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Team Championships.
This year's ITA national award winners from Southern California are:
- 2012 Men's Award Winners:
- ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - George Husack, USC
- ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year - Steve Johnson, USC
- ITA National Player to Watch - Sebastian Fanselow, Pepperdine University
- ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship - Ryan Thacher (hometown Studio City), Stanford University
- ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award - Daniel Nguyen, USC
2012 Women's Award Winners:
- Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year - Stella Sampras Webster, UCLA
- ITA National Assistant Coach of the Year - Rance Brown, UCLA
- ITA National Co-Rookie of the Year - Robin Anderson, UCLA and Beatrice Capra, Duke University
- ITA National Player to Watch - Zoe Scandalis, USC
Following are some quick bios the ITA put together where you can learn more about each SoCal award winner.
Stella Sampras Webster, the 2012 Wilson/ITA National Women's Coach of the Year, coached the UCLA Bruins to its first ever NCAA Women's Tennis National Championship in 2008, but this season she may have more to be proud of than what her squad accomplished that year. UCLA claimed its first ever ITA Women's Team Indoor Championship in program history. Her team has also been ranked No. 1 in the Campbell/ITA Division I Team Rankings for a school-record eight straight weeks. The Bruins also went into Palo Alto and ended Stanford's 157-match home winning streak. All of these feats have been accomplished with just two seniors on the team. Along with an emphasis on success, she also demands integrity and sportsmanship from every one of her players.
In just his third season with the Trojans, George Husack, the 2012 ITA National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year, has helped USC remain the team to beat in men's college tennis. Despite winning three-consecutive NCAA Team Championships, the Trojans did not enter the tournament as the overall number one seed, which they did this season. This has been a season of firsts for USC, as they claimed the program's first ITA Men's Team Indoor Championship title in Charlottesville in February, along with the inaugural Pac-12 Men's Team Tournament title. This year's squad features two outstanding seniors, but several underclassmen have also made a number of contributions throughout the season.
Rance Brown, the 2012 ITA National Women's Assistant Coach of the Year, has played an integral role in helping the UCLA program to one of its best seasons in its storied history. The Bruins have put together a tremendous season with four freshmen in the singles lineup. Rance has done an incredible job of coaching these new players to get the most of out their abilities while adapting to the college game. He coaches courts four, five, and six during dual matches, helping two of the freshmen reach the 20-win plateau in dual singles competition. He also dedicates time to teach the fundamentals of tennis to children in the community.
Steve Johnson, the 2012 ITA National Men's Senior Player of the Year, took over the top spot in the Campbell/ITA Division I Men's Singles Rankings heading into the NCAA Championships. Serving as this year's team captain for the top-ranked Trojans, he is unbeaten on the year in singles action. He entered the NCAA Championships with a 60-match overall singles match winning streak, including winning 56-straight dual singles matches. Johnson was named Pac-12 Player of the Year for the second straight season earlier this spring. He is a four-time Pac-12 First Team honoree along with being named an ITA All-American seven times in his career. He has also helped his team to three consecutive NCAA Men's Team Championships.
Robin Anderson, the 2012 ITA National Women's Co-Rookie Player of the Year, entered the NCAA Championships ranked in the top 10 in both singles and doubles in the Campbell/ITA Division I Women's Rankings. She helped the Bruins claim the ITA Division I Women's Team Indoor Championship in February, the first in program history. This year's squad also went into Stanford and snapped the Cardinal's 157-match home winning streak, a match in which Anderson was victorious in both singles and doubles. She has wins over several current top 10 players while playing at the first singles position for UCLA. Though only a freshman, she has competed with great poise and sportsmanship in a number of high-pressure situations.
Helping lead his team to a top-10 ranking, Sebastian Fanselow, the 2012 ITA National Men's Player to Watch, has consistently been one of the best singles players in the nation this spring. He has an impressive 24-3 record in dual matches, including 20-2 at the top singles position. He is currently ranked eighth in the Campbell/ITA Division I Men's Singles Rankings.
Another tremendous freshman from the Pac-12 Conference, Zoe Scandalis, the 2012 ITA Women's Player to Watch, has been one of the top players in the nation in singles the entire season, currently ranked 14th in the Campbell/ITA Division I Women's Singles Rankings. She has played at the first singles position for the entire season, collecting over 30 wins for the Women of Troy. She had a tremendous fall, playing her way through both the pre-qualifying and qualifying draws of the ITA/Riviera Women's All-American Championships to advance to the main draw of the prestigious event. This year's Freeman Memorial Singles Champion, Scandalis was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on January 23.
A two-year captain for the Stanford Cardinal, Ryan Thacher, the 2012 Men's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship honoree, has helped lead the team through several ups and downs in his four years. He has had tremendous success on the court, reaching the NCAA Doubles Semifinals in 2010 and the NCAA Finals in 2011. He has also been named an ITA All-American twice in his career, along with earning All Pac-12 First Team honors on three occasions. Thacher has recorded at least 20 singles victories in each of his four seasons with the Cardinal. While not the most vocal leader in the history of Stanford tennis, his leadership is second to none. He leads by example, always showing his opponents and officials respect no matter the situation he is in. Thacher has an impressive 3.917 GPA with a major in history, demonstrating a tremendous focus to balance athletics and academics. He has also worked with the East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutorial Program, a program that brings local kids in to be tutored by Stanford students. Thacher plans to attend medical school to become a pediatric surgeon or trauma specialist after playing tennis professionally.
Daniel Nguyen, one of two honorees for the 2012 ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award, has been a symbol of leadership and sportsmanship in his four years in the Trojans program. This year alone he has amassed more than 20 dual victories in both singles and doubles. He was a member of the BNP Paribas Master'U team, which claimed the title with a dramatic victory over France in the championship match. Nguyen has been just as dedicated in the classroom, maintaining a 3.5 GPA in communications, which included being a member of the Dean's List in 2010. He has been a very active member around the USC campus, serving on the USC Trojan Athletic Senate for the past three years. Nguyen has also generously devoted his time to a number of community service projects. He participated in the Harper for Kids 32nd Street School tennis event, teaching clinics to promote health and well-being. Last year he joined the USC Joint Educational Project, where he became a teaching assistant at Manual Arts Senior High School, teaching Geology and the science of human performance.