Pacific Tennis: Tigers Sweep Tennis Big West Athlete of the Year Awards
Despite bowing out of the 2010 Big West Tennis Championships sooner than hoped, the Pacific mens and womens tennis teams swept conference Athlete of the Year honors and picked up a combined 10 All-Conference Team awards the league announced Tuesday. Juniors Artem Gramma (Krivoj Roj, Ukraine) and No. 82 Jenifer Widjaja (Sao Roque, Brazil) claimed top honors for their respective sports. It is only the second time in 13 years that two players from the same institution were named Athletes of the Year.
It was obvious that Artem and Jenifer both had the best seasons, said Director of Tennis and Mens Head Coach Matt Lucas. They were undefeated in conference play at No. 1 singles.
Gramma, a two-time Athlete of the Week (Feb. 4 and April 21), finished with a 15-6 spring record (22-9 overall) having gone 5-0 against conference opponents.
I think it is a testament to all the hard work he has put in throughout the year, added Lucas. He really improved in the last year and a half to go from someone who was playing No. 4 or No. 5 as a freshman to someone who is now Big West Player of the Year. I think it just shows the other coaches are aware of how much he has improved and how great a player he really is.
Gramma closed out the season on a six-match win streak, the last of which was over Fabian Matthews (7-6 (1), 5-3 ret.) of the now reigning Big West Conference Champions No. 57 UC Irvine.
Widjaja, who has been ranked all season long, went 19-3 this spring (30-7 overall) defeating all eight of her Big West opponents to garner the award. She is also a two-time Athlete of the Week award recipient (Jan. 27 and April 13).
She is a kid, who even though she plays a lot of tennis wants to continue to get better, said Womens Head Coach Bob Chiene. She went undefeated in conference and is the highest ranked player in the conference, I think it is reasonable for her to have a goal to become an All-American.
Since joining the Tigers just last season, Widjaja has etched herself in the Pacific tennis record books. She now holds the records for most wins in a single season (30), replacing Anja Hermann (who had 28 in 2005), highest career winning percentage (.876) and highest single season winning percentage (.870). She concluded the 2010 season on a 13-match win streak, recording her final victory over Courtney Byron (6-3, 6-3) from conference champions No. 59 UC Irvine.
Both Gramma and Widjaja were named to the First Team All-Conference. Also receiving a First Team nod was newcomer Ivan Castro (Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil).
Lucas stated, He had a great first year. Next year he will be even better, once he gets a fall season under his belt. It really is a pretty amazing accomplishment. To think that he just got to school here in January and he is already First Team All-Conference. He will be pushing for Player of the Year the next two or three years.
Only competing in the spring season, Castro finished the year 13-8, going 4-1 against conference opponents. He earned Athlete of the Week honors on March 3 and picked up four wins over opponents from ranked teams this season.
In doubles, Gramma and Castro earned First Team All-Conference for their partnership. The pair finished 12-7 splitting time between the No. 1 and No. 2 position. Widjaja also earned First Team All-Conference doubles partnered with senior Sasha Fisher (Southampton, Bermuda).
Sasha was elated, added, Chiene. For her, coming in as a walk-on and ending up making First Conference Doubles Team as a senior, thats amazing.
The duo went 16-5 this spring playing out of the No. 1 position and finished 19-8 overall for the year, winning eight of their last nine matches.
Tigers named to their respective Second Teams All-Conference were junior Fernando Ristow (Curitiba, Brazil) and freshman Christina Goehl (Karlsruhe, Germany). Ristow finished with a 14-12 overall record and Goehl closed out her inaugural season 18-14 respectively.
Christina definitely deserved to be on second team, said Chiene. Playing at the No. 2 position, she has beaten two of the first team selections. She was deserving and other coaches saw it too. She had a very good year.
Senior Renan Delsin (Santa Cruz da Conceicoa, Brazil) was named to Honorable Mention.
Lucas noted, Typically its hard to be recognized when you play at the No. 4 position because they tend to just give it to the top three. It just shows that he has obviously played very well to get recognized.
Two other doubles teams recognized for the men. Delsin and Ristow earned Second Team honors. And senior Vegerd Veskimagi (Saku, Estonia) and sophomore Karl-Erik Paaro (Tallinn, Estonia) were recognized on Honorable Mention.