Regional ITA Honors for Agudelo, Lady Hilltoppers
TEMPE, Ariz. – The West Liberty University women's tennis team received two prestigious regional honors this week when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released its NCAA Division II Atlantic Region awards.
Senior standout Luisa Agudelo won the ITA Atlantic Region Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award while the Lady Hilltopper team earned the Atlantic Region Community Service Award from the national collegiate tennis organization.
This marks the second consecutive year that a member of Coach Heather Gallagher’s squad has won the Ashe Award as former WLU standout Carleyah Mclean was the 2020 recipient. It’s also the second straight Atlantic Region Community Service Award for the Lady Hilltoppers.
"Luisa is a very deserving recipient of this award and is a visible member of the WLU community," Gallagher said. "She's easily one of the most reliable, most considerate, and most trustworthy student-athletes I’ve had the pleasure of coaching. Her efforts on the court have played a key role in helping our team achieve a top 5 regional ranking at one point during the season. It was a thrill to me and the team that she decided to come back for her final season as a graduate student at West Liberty."
Agudelo is a native of Cali, Colombia who transferred to West Liberty three years ago from Oral Roberts University and immediately carved out a place in Gallagher's starting lineup. She graduated in May with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Entrepreneurship. She plans to return to the hilltop in the fall to pursue her MBA.
The ITA's Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award dates back to 1982 and is presented annually to the male and female student-athlete who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
Agudelo checked off all the boxes. A consistent winner in the middle of the WLU lineup, her maturity and leadership proved invaluable as one of only two seniors on a youthful but talented squad. Off the court, she volunteers at the Millie Mulhern youth tennis clinics in Wheeling while also providing English lessons in local elementary schools in her home country of Colombia.
In addition to Agudelo’s efforts, the West Liberty women's tennis team was actively engaged in several other community service endeavors over the course of the year. Major initiatives included their work with the Mulhern youth tennis clinics along with assisting the Highland Park Tennis Club in Pittsburgh with their tennis program for blind and visually impaired children and adults.
As one of eight regional award winners, Agudelo is now a finalist for the national ITA Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award while the WLU women’s team is one of the finalists for the national ITA Community Service Award. Both awards will be announced later this month.
2021 ITA Regional Awards
NCAA Division II
Wilson ITA Coach of the Year
- Alec Foote Charleston
Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship
- LUISA AGUDELO, WEST LIBERTY
ITA Rookie of the Year
- Abigail Wild, W.Va. State
ITA Most Improved Senior
- Athina Tsagkaraki, Mercyhurst
ITA Senior Player of the Year
- Iryna Rusyn, Salem
ITA Community Service Award
- WEST LIBERTY