Story Courtesy of Wingate Athletic Media Relations
Tempe, Ariz. - Wingate University junior Sydney Homan has added a huge honor to her list of impressive accolades, earning the prestigious Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award from the International Tennis Association. Homan is the first Bulldog to earn the huge honor. She was named the Southeast recipient of the award last week.
"I am both honored and humbled to have my name mentioned in the context with the great Arthur Ashe," Homan says. "While my tennis skills are very dim in comparison to his, I do really connect with his words 'From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life.' While I'm approaching my senior year and have that 'make a living part' very much on my mind, it is the 'make a life' part and Mr. Ashe's example of servant leadership that truly inspires me. I want to thank my coaches and teammates for always believing in me. I'm so thankful for all the support and encouragement I have received here at Wingate."
The ITA/Arthur Ashe National Leadership and Sportsmanship Awards honor outstanding individuals in all of collegiate tennis divisions at the regional and national level, including NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men's and women's players. A select group of accomplished student-athletes have been honored with the Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award since 1982. Ashe himself inaugurated the award and personally made the presentations until his tragic passing in 1993. The award takes into account a player's tennis accomplishments, scholastic achievements and extracurricular endeavors, and recognizes players who excelled on and off the court as Ashe did during his life. Sportsmanship, leadership and character are important criteria, as is giving back to the community.
"I'm so proud of Sydney for gaining national recognition in receiving this great honor," head coach Michael Cabana says. "Her selflessness for others and her teammates is a special trait Sydney has. She is always willing to help teammates and others on and off the court. She's been a great asset on our team for three years. She will continue to be a role model for others."
On the court, Homan played a huge role in helping the Bulldogs win their eighth consecutive regular season title and go undefeated in league play for the sixth straight year, while also earning their highest national ranking in program history. The Bulldogs hosted the NCAA Southeast Regionals for the first time in Wingate women's tennis history and won their first-ever NCAA Tournament match.
Homan went 15-4 in singles play, with an 8-1 record against conference opponents. She was 13-3 at number six singles, adding victories at three and five singles. The junior went 15-2 against Division II opponents during her junior season. She also posted a 16-9 record in doubles play, picking up 14 wins at two doubles to go along with a pair of victories at number one doubles. Homan has a 47-12 career record in singles play and is 44-19 in doubles.
Homan has a 4.0 GPA at Wingate, majoring in Exercise Science. The SAC Elite 20 Award winner in 2018, Homan has been on the President's List every semester at Wingate, while also earning a spot on the SAC Commissioner's Honor Rolle every year. The two-time ITA Scholar-Athlete earned the Alpha Xi Delta Slaymaker Kinsey Award for having the highest cumulative GPA.
Homan also makes a huge impact outside the classroom and the court. She recently went on a mission trip to Haiti. She has volunteered at local tennis clinics, Charlotte Wheelchair Basketball Program, nursing homes and Crestwood Hospital. Homan has worked with the Autism Speaks fundraiser and ALS Association fundraiser each of the last three years. She has also participated in Wingate Day of Service.
NCAA Division II Women's Tennis National Award Winners
Wilson ITA Coach of the Year: Lauren Conching, Hawai'i Pacific University
tasc Performance ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Stephen Schram, Barry University
ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Sydney Homan, Wingate University
ITA Rookie of the Year: Candice Paya, Columbus State University
ITA Player to Watch: Beatriz Lopez, Columbus State University
ITA Most Improved Senior: Lara Meccico, Hawai'i Pacific University
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Lena Lutzeier, Hawai'i Pacific University
The ITA is the governing body of college tennis, overseeing men's and women's varsity tennis at all levels - NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior/Community College - and over the past three decades has worked hard to achieve its charter goals:
"To foster and encourage the playing of intercollegiate tennis in accordance with the highest tradition of sportsmanship and consistent with the general objectives of higher education."
"To develop among the intercollegiate coaches a deeper sense of responsibility in teaching, promoting, maintaining and conducting the game of tennis."
"To educate and serve those individuals and groups who are involved in collegiate tennis: junior and college players, their coaches and parents, and the at-large tennis public."
Comprised of nearly 1,200 men's and women's coaches representing over 1,700 teams across the country from all three NCAA Divisions, as well as the NAIA and Junior and Community Colleges, the ITA oversees activities involving over 20,000 varsity college student-athletes. In addition to ITA collegiate coach members, the ITA welcomes collegiate varsity players, junior players, corporate, and affiliated membership of alumni, associate, college parents, conferences & associations, international federations, junior family and professional.