PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 13, 2014) – Senior co-captain Stefania Balasa (East Brunswick, N.J.) of the Rutgers tennis team has been named the recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship & Leadership Award for the Northeast region, the association announced Tuesday. Balasa is now eligible to be selected for the national award.
“I am really honored to receive this award,” said Balasa. “I feel very fortunate for all the opportunities I had through athletics the past few years.”
“Stef is most deserving of this prestigious award,” said head coach Ben Bucca, Jr. “Stef was a committed athlete and understood the importance of giving back to the community. It was impressive how willingly she shared her time and talents with so many people and organizations. Stef truly took full advantage of all the fantastic opportunities available to student-athletes here at Rutgers. This is a fitting tribute to an outstanding student -athlete. Everyone at Rutgers tennis is very proud of her.”
The ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. National winners will be honored during a special ceremony hosted by the USTA during Arthur Ashe Kids' Day inside Ashe Stadium.
The 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.
Balasa becomes the third-ever Scarlet Knight to receive the award. Previous award winners for Rutgers are Katrina Elder Bush and Amy Zhang, who earned the honor in 2008 and 20011, respectively. Zhang went on to be named the national award winner.
The East Brunswick, New Jersey, native finished tied for second on the team in singles wins with 14 to help Rutgers conclude the year with a 16-5 overall record.
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