BERKELEY – California collected more honors this week for the Golden Bears’ latest stellar season, with Lynn Chi earning a nomination for the Honda Sports Award for women’s tennis, six Bears claiming rankings in the ITA’s final poll of the season and two Bears – Chi and Anett Schutting – earning singles All-America honors.
Chi, a sophomore who reached the final of the recent NCAA Singles Championship, was one of four players to garner a nomination for the Honda Sports Award, which Chris Voelz, the executive director of the Collegiate Women Sports Awards (CWSA) announced Tuesday. Also on that list are Virginia’s Danielle Collins, who defeated Chi in the national final, UCLA’s Pac-12 Player of the Year Robin Anderson and North Carolina’s Jamie Loeb, who fell to Chi in the NCAA singles quarterfinals. Chi, who recently earned a spot on the All-Pac-12 second team, ended the year with a team-high mark in singles wins and a 38-11 overall record.
The Honda Sports Award is presented annually by the CWSA to the top women athletes in 12 NCAA- sanctioned sports and signifies “the best of the best in collegiate athletics.” The winner of each sport award becomes a finalist for the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and the prestigious 2014 Honda Cup. The nominees were chosen by their NCAA Championship finish and final rankings.
The Honda Sports award winner for tennis will be announced later this week after voting by administrators from over 1,000 NCAA member schools. Each NCAA member institution has a vote.
Chi is Cal’s first finalist for the Honda Sports Award for women’s tennis since Jana Juricova – Cal’s lone Honda winner so far – won it in 2011. This marks the fifth nomination for a Golden Bear; Juricova earned nominations in 2010 and 2011, Suzi Babos was nominated in 2006 and Lisa Albano was a nominee in 1991. Swimmer Mary T. Meagher is Cal’s only winner of the Collegiate Winner of the Year award, which she claimed in 1987.
The cavalcade of accolades continued for the Bears on Wednesday, when Chi led the Bears with a career-best ranking of 11th in the final ITA singles rankings of the 2013-14 season. All six singles starters for the Bears are ranked in the poll, including No. 21 Zsofi Susanyi, No. 25 Anett Schutting, No. 35 Denise Starr, No. 61 Maegan Manasse and No. 86 Klara Fabikova.
With the release of the final ITA singles rankings, Cal winds up the season with two singles All-Americans in Chi and Schutting. Schutting, a senior with a 28-13 record who played at No. 3 singles late this year for the Bears, earned All-America distinction for being seeded Nos. 9-16 in the NCAA singles tournament. Chi, normally Cal’s No. 4 singles player, claimed singles All-America status for reaching the NCAA singles round of 16.
Players earn ITA All-America singles honors for having a top-16 seed in the NCAA Singles Championship, reaching the NCAA singles round of 16 or earning a top-20 ranking in the final ITA poll.
Susanyi, a junior who played No. 2 singles down the stretch, just missed All-America status with her No. 21 ranking. The talented Bear advanced to the NCAA singles round of 32 to finish with a 26-10 record and recently earned an All-Pac-12 second-team berth.
This marks the first All-America honors for freshmen Starr and Manasse. Starr, who compiled a 21-12 record playing much of the year at No. 1 singles, also claimed All-Pac-12 first-team status and reached the NCAA singles round of 64. Manasse, who played at No. 6 singles for Cal and clinched Cal’s Pac-12 championship with her April 19 singles win at Stanford, ended her first collegiate season with a 33-7 record.
Fabikova, a sophomore who posted a 17-3 record at No. 5 singles, concluded the season with a 34-10 overall record and All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
Three Cal teams earned spots in the final ITA doubles poll. They included the 33rd-ranked duo of Manasse and Starr (12-1 record), the 39th-ranked tandem of Chi and Schutting (16-7) and the 55th-ranked pair of Manasse and Schutting (10-5). The Bears did not collect doubles All-America honors this year. Qualifications for doubles All-America status are earning top-10 final rankings, advancing to the NCAA doubles quarterfinals or earning top-eight seeds in the NCAA Doubles Championship.