TEMPE, Ariz. - The Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced the 2016-17 Division II regional and national award winners recently at the 2017 Division II NCAA Tennis Championships in Altamonte Springs, Fla.
West Virginia Wesleyan's Paula Pimenta (pictured) was named the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award, given annually to outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level.
This award which dates back to 1982, goes to NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JuCo men's and women's players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements throughout their careers.
Pimenta, a graduating senior Engineering student, has been the top player for the Lady Bobcats since her arrival in Buckhannon in the fall of 2013. She quickly made her mark on the program and the Atlantic region, earning both MEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors in her first season.
She maintained an ITA ranking in singles throughout her 4 years in the lineup, was named First Team All-MEC in each of those seasons, and was twice named to the ITA All-Academic team carrying a 3.5+ GPA.
"This is a wonderful recognition for a very deserving person," said head coach Marc Walters. " Paula's contribution to this program goes far beyond the court, and she is highly regarded by her teammates, peers, and opponents as one of true sportsman in our region. She never met an opponent who did not like her and enjoy competing with her, no matter how big the stage."
Pimenta, from Londrina, Brazil, led the Lady Bobcats to a top 10 ITA Team ranking this year and a third-place finish in the MEC, their best conference mark since 2010.
Pimenta was one of eight regional winners of the award, who then vied for the national ITA honor. Ana Marija Banic, of Dallas Baptist University, was named the national winner at Monday's awards dinner.
Select coaches in the division comprised the regional and national awards committees.
WOMEN'S REGIONAL AWARDS
Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year: Larry Peterson, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
ITA Assistant Coach of the Year: Alex Bush, Edinboro University
ITA Most Improved Player (Senior): Annie Baich, Mercyhurst
ITA Senior Player of the Year: Raquel Gonzalez, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
ITA Rookie of the Year: Kiersten Hensley, West Virginia State
ITA Player to Watch: Luise Von Agris, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award: Paula Pimenta, West Virginia Wesleyan
ITA Community Service Award: Edinboro University