ITA announces Players of the Year
June 18, 2012
SKILLMAN, N.J. — Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs and USC’s Steve Johnson have been named the 2012 Campbell/ITA National College Players of the Year, the ITA announced today. Additionally, Gibbs and doubles partner Mallory Burdette were named the Campbell/ITA National Women’s Doubles Team of the Year, while Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola of Ohio State were honored on the men’s side.
The Campbell/ITA National College Player of the Year awards are given to one male and one female singles player who has had the most outstanding year in college tennis. The collegiate players will be recognized at the 2012 International Tennis Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, July 14 in Newport, R.I. during the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships.
Stanford’s Nicole Gibbs closed out the 2011-12 season in impressive fashion, winning her final 17 singles matches to finish with an overall singles record of 41-5 in her sophomore campaign. She put together a solid fall season that included claiming the 2011 USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Singles Championship. Gibbs picked up her level of play for the post-season in the spring, capturing the 2012 Pac-12 Singles Championship en route to be named the 2012 Pac-12 Women’s Player of the Year. In the NCAA Women’s Singles Championship, Gibbs defeated Florida’s Allie Will, the player ranked No. 1 in the Campbell/ITA Division I Women’s Singles Rankings heading into the NCAA Championships, in the semifinals. She outlasted teammate and doubles partner Burdette in the finals 2-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win the 2012 NCAA Women’s Singles crown. Gibbs earned ITA All-America honors for both singles and doubles, making her a four-time ITA All-American.
Steve Johnson capped off a stellar four-year career at USC fittingly: taking home the 2012 NCAA Men’s Singles Championship. Johnson heads into the pro ranks as one of the most decorated players in college tennis history, helping his team to four consecutive NCAA Men’s Team Championships to go along with is back-to-back NCAA Men’s Singles Championships. He ended his career on a 72-match singles winning streak, including a perfect 37-0 in his senior season. Johnson was named the 2012 Pac-12 Men’s Player of the Year, his second season to be chosen for that award. He was also selected as the 2012 ITA/Farnsworth National Senior Player of the Year honoree. Johnson finishes his career as a seven-time ITA All-American after earning both singles and doubles honors this season. He was also named the Campbell/ITA Men’s Player of the Year last season, becoming just the third men’s player to earn the honor in consecutive seasons.
Stanford has now produced the last three NCAA Women’s Doubles Champions, as Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs were able to defeat Georgia’s Nadja Gilchrist and Chelsey Gullickson 6-2, 6-4 in the final to give the Cardinals its 15th collegiate doubles title in program history. Burdette also claimed the NCAA Women’s Doubles title last season when she teamed up with Hilary Barte to do so. Burdette and Gibbs finished the year with a solid record of 35-5, including 18-2 in dual action. The duo played a total of 22 matches against ranked tandems this season, compiling an impressive 18 wins against just four losses. Burdette and Gibbs also started out the season on a positive note, taking home the 2011 ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Doubles title in the fall.
Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola were simply a dominating force in collegiate men’s doubles this season. The duo accomplished something no other tandem had been able to pull off in previous years, claiming the three major collegiate championships in the same season — the ITA Men’s All-American Championship, the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championship, and the NCAA Championship. The pair spent the entire spring atop the Campbell/ITA Division I Men’s Doubles Rankings following the two major titles in the fall. Buchanan and Rola finished off the triple crown in Athens, Ga. with a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over Texas Tech’s Raony Carvalho and Gonzalo Escobar in the NCAA Doubles Championship match. The tandem went 36-4 on the season overall, with half of those victories coming against ranked competition.
Past ITA National Players of the Year:
Past ITA National Doubles Teams of the Year:
About the Intercollegiate Tennis Association
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit, presented by the USTA, and the ITA Rankings for men’s and women’s tennis 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. The official ITA web site is itatennis.com.