TCU Men, Women Receive ITA All-Academic Team Award; Now just need a coach

The TCU men’s tennis team was honored with the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s (ITA) All-Academic Team Award Monday. In addition to the team milestone, three Horned Frogs were named ITA Scholar-Athletes for standout work in the classroom.

TCU received the ITA’s All-Academic Team Award for the second straight year, and only the second time in program history, after exceeding the minimum cumulative team grade-point average requirement of 3.20 (on a 4.00 scale) during the fall 2009 and spring 2010 semesters. All eligible student-athletes who competed in at least one varsity match during the academic year factored into the team GPA figure.

Leading TCU’s academic efforts were three student-athletes named ITA Scholar-Athletes for the second consecutive year in Kelubia Mabatah, Cameron Nash and Zach Nichols. The honor was awarded to only those players who posted a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5 over the two semesters while earning a varsity letter.

Each of the three Frogs are accomplished scholar-athletes, having also been honored by the Mountain West Conference earlier this summer with academic honors. Nash added the prestigious Clark Scholarship to his resume in the spring, an honor given to only three TCU students each year.

Four members of the TCU women’s tennis squad were named 2010 ITA Scholar-Athletes, the ITA announced Monday.

Maria Babanova, Gaby Mastromarino, Shalini Sahoo and Katariina Touhimaa all earned the distinction for the first time in their Frog careers.

Babanova and Touhimaa will be seniors when the semester commences on Aug. 23, while Mastromarino and Sahoo will be juniors.

In addition to the ITA Scholar-Athlete honor, Babanova, Matromarino and Touhimaa were named to the Academic All-Mountain West Conference team in the spring.

To be named an ITA Scholar-Athlete, the athlete must be a varsity letter winner, have a grade point average of at least 3.50 and have been enrolled at the current school for at least two semesters.

Smith transfers to TCU from Miami (Fla.)

Olivia Smith has joined the TCU women’s tennis program, coach Dave Borelli announced Monday.

Smith, who spent a semester at Miami (Fla.), will be eligible to compete for the Frogs in the spring semester.

The Bath, England, native brings an impressive junior resume with her to TCU, along with a WTA singles ranking that has climbed as high as No. 908 and a WTA doubles ranking as high as No. 776.

Smith was a national doubles champion during her junior playing days in England. Her team ability should help the Frogs in doubles play, considered to be one of the strengths of the team for next season.

“We’re really excited to pick up a player of Olivia’s caliber two or three weeks into the recruiting process,” Borelli said. “She has a reputation as a great kid on and off the tennis court and she’s exactly what we’re looking for in an athlete.”

The Frogs are set to kick off the fall portion of the 2010-2011 season Sept. 17 at the Racquet Club Invitational in Midland, Texas.

Baylor women add one

Baylor women’s tennis head coach Joey Scrivano announced Wednesday the signing of incoming freshman Aya Bara to his 2010-11 recruiting class.

Bara, a native of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, ranked among the best players in her home country. In 2010 , Bara earned a U18 Junior Ontario ranking as high as 12th, while being ranked 22nd among all U18 juniors in Canada. She also earned a No. 19 Women’s Open ranking in Canada.

“We are excited to introduce Aya to the Baylor Nation,” Scrivano said. “It was incredible to find a student-athlete of her ability still available this late in the summer.” I believe she is a diamond in the rough and can contribute a lot to the program as she develops and gains experience. Aya is an extremely gifted young lady on and off the court who fits our programs high standards of academic and athletic achievement.”

Bara was a multiple-time winner in three-star events in Ontario, while also enjoying success at the four- and five-star levels. She was a doubles finalist at the five-star U14 Provincials in 2006, then made the finals at the four-star U18 OTA Masters in 2008 and the Monterrey ITF G5 doubles in 2009.

Bara will join three previous signees, including Georgia State transfer Diana Nakic, Armstrong Atlantic State transfer Sona Novakova and fellow incoming freshman Cristina Danaila.