`Dogs Awarded ITA Academic Honors

July 10, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. - The ITA announced the All-Academic Teams and Scholar-Athletes on Thursday which includes the Fresno State's women's tennis team as well student-athletes from both the men's and women's teams. Fresno State is one of six teams selected by the ITA recognizing not only the hard work they put in on the court, but in the classroom as well.

The Fresno State women's tennis team met all criteria to be named an ITA All-Academic Team, but their success didn't end there. In 2014 the `Dogs clinched their first ever Mountain West tournament championship led by the MW Women's Tennis Coach of the Year, Ryan Stotland. In addition to receiving this academic achievement award and being named Mountain West champions, the women's tennis team earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament where they concluded its season after the first round.

"I'm so impressed with how our women's tennis team handled this entire year and bought into the success we preach about being not only good on the court, but off the court as well," Stotland said. "This program has always preached being a student first, as that is the way it is written in student-athlete. The women's tennis team has achieved new heights by not only winning our first Mountain West Championship, but also by achieving a team GPA of 3.58, which happens to be the highest at Fresno State."

There were five Fresno State student-athletes from the women's tennis team recognized as Scholar-Athletes. These individuals include sophomores Sophie Watts, Anneka Watts and Rana Sherif Ahmed, as well as juniors Tanya Murtagh and Anne Susdorf. They are five of 30 athletes chosen by the ITA in the Mountain West conference.



"We are also honored to receive prestigious national awards including another ITA Team All-Academic Award along with five ITA All Academic Individual Awards with a GPA over a 3.5," Stotland said. "I'm so proud of this team that they can truly do it all and I know they have set a great foundation that will be followed for many years to come. The team truly did it all and I could not be a prouder coach."

From the Fresno State men's tennis team, Sai Kartik Nakireddi and Nikolas Papic have both been presented with the ITA Scholar-Athlete award. Amongst this honor, Ahmed was named the All-Mountain West singles team as well as accompanying Nakireddi, as they tied for team lead in singles victories.

"I'm very proud of Nikolas and Sai for being named ITA Scholar-Athletes," men's head coach Evan Austin said. "These two do an extremely good job of representing our program both on the court and in the classroom. I look for them to have continued success as they begin their junior and senior years."

The ITA All-Academic Team award is open to any ITA member program that has a cumulative team grade point average of 3.20 or above (on a 4.00 scale). All eligible student-athletes whose names appear on the NCAA, NAIA, NJCAA, or CA JUCO eligibility form and have competed in one or more varsity matches must average into the GPA for the current academic year (including fall 2013 and spring 2014).

In order to earn ITA Scholar-Athlete status a player must meet the following criteria: 1.) be a varsity letter winner, 2.) have a grade point average of at least 3.50 (on a 4.00 scale) for the current academic year, and 3.) have been enrolled at their present school for at least 2 semesters (including freshman thorough senior year).

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