May 23, 2013

Cecil Earns NCAA Elite 89 Award and ITA National Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship

(KALAMAZOO, Mich.) – A week after being named the Atlantic South Region Arthur Ashe Jr. for Leadership and Sportsmanship Honoree by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA), Carnegie Mellon University women's tennis junior Katie Cecil (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View) received national recognition late Wednesday night. Cecil was awarded the NCAA Division III national ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.  The junior also was the recipient of the Elite 89 Award for the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championship.

"Katie is arguably the most exceptionally well-rounded student-athlete I have ever coached," said women's tennis coach Andy Girard. "This season alone she has been a tremendous force on the court for us, playing at the top spots in singles and doubles for a team that reached the third round of the NCAA Team Championship."

The Elite 89, an award founded by the NCAA, recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring the individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in his or her sport, while also achieving the highest academic standard among his or her peers. The Elite 89 is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA's championships.

Eligible student-athletes for the Elite 89 Award are sophomores or above who have participated in their sport for at least two years with their school. They must be an active member of the team, traveling and a designated member of the squad size at the championship. The number of credits completed breaks all ties.

A 2013 College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District Women's At-Large Team selection, Cecil becomes the first student-athlete in school history to earn the Elite 89 Award while the second to receive the national ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.

Cecil, a neuroscience major carries a perfect 4.00 GPA. Off the court, she is a member of the Carnegie Mellon Student-Athletic Advisory Council. This past fall she volunteered for the Light's On Afterschool and Ten Thousand Villages projects.  During her work with the Light's On project, she interacted with youth to teach the benefit of afterschool activities. She supported one of the world's oldest and largest fair trade organizations through the Ten Thousand Villages program. The junior led a service project with the tennis team in April, as the Tartans volunteered their time at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Cecil also spent  time working with the St. Bernard Rebuilding Project by helping to build houses in New Orleans as part of Hurricane Katrina Relief in 2010.

As a player, Cecil has been successful on the court, winning 35 singles matches and 36 doubles matches during her two-year career with the Tartans after transferring from Tulane University. A year ago, Cecil was named National Player to Watch by the ITA after earning All-America accolades her first season in Pittsburgh.

Cecil will be in action starting today at the 2013 NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships.  She will play for the singles championship while pairing with sophomore Angela Pratt to play for the doubles championship.

As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches representing more than 1,200 institutions, administers numerous regional and national championships and the Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for over 20,000 college varsity student-athletes 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.