2017 Award Winners
Adult Player of the Year
I am nominating Jose Marval as Adult Player of the Year. Jose grew up loving the game of tennis in Venezuela. There he reached number 3 in the nation for boys’ 18 and under. He then came to the US to play tennis for Grace College. Grace College is a nationally ranked NAIA school; there Jose was an All-Conference individual and team tennis champion in 2013 and 2014. Now he is the head pro at Westfield Tennis Club. He brings enthusiasm and a love for the game to work each day and spreads it with the members of all ages. This year Jose has had some outstanding competitive results in USTA tournaments. Jose started off the year at the Waterloo Open where he took home the singles title without dropping more than 3 games in a set. He also claimed the doubles title with partner Rusty Graff. Next he entered the Mississippi Valley Open. There Jose made it to the round of 16 before losing to the number 2 seed and eventual semi-finalist. Paired with Brandon Hornback, Jose reached the semi-finals of the doubles draw before losing to the runner ups. In his most recent tournament, the Baird Iowa Open, Jose swept the singles and doubles fields. These results have propelled him to number 23 in the Missouri Valley Men’s Open Singles rankings and number 7 in the Missouri Valley Men’s Open Doubles rankings. Jose competes for every single point the second he steps on court and plays the game the way it should be played. With his all around excellence in tennis and fantastic results, I believe Jose should be named the USTA Player of the Year in 2017.
Junior Player of the Year (1 male & 1 female)
FOR ANATTA--STATE HIGH SCHOOL CHAMPION THAT DOMINATED PLAY IN CLASS 1A COMING FROM FAIRFIELD HIGH SCHOOL WHERE SHE WAS THE TOP PLAYER FOR THEIR SCHOOL. SHE ONLY LOST FIVE GAMES IN THE ENTIRE TOURNAMENT AND EXHIBITS GREAT SPORTSMANSHIP AND IS QUITE THE DEDICATED ATHLETE AFTER TALKING WITH HER COACH AT THE STATE TOURNAMENT HELD IN IOWA CITY IN JUNE. SHE DOES PLAY OTHER TOURNAMENTS AND IS A TREMENDOUS SINGLES PLAYER, BUT ALSO PARTICIPATES IN DOUBLES FAIRLY REGULARLY, IN ADDITION; SHE HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD OF HER IN THE SPORT OF INTERSCHOLASTIC AND EVENTUALLY INTER-COLLEGIATE TENNIS WHEN SHE DOES GET TO COLLEGE/ CERTAINLY A BRIGHT SPOT IN IOWA HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS--RECENTLY SHE WAS A FINALIST IN A FAIRLY TOUGH JUNIOR DRAW IN GIRLS 18 SINGLES AT THE IOWA OPEN TENNIS TOURNAMENT IN JULY.
FOR JIUNG JUNG, A RECORD TYING THIRD STRAIGHT SINGLES TITLE IN THE IHSAA STATE TOURNAMENT IN CEDAR RAPIDS IN MAY--ALSO HELPED HIS TEAM AS THE #1 PLAYER TO YET ANOTHER STATE CHAMPIONSHIP FOR COACH MITCH GROSS (FORMER COACH OF THE YEAR IN THE I.T.A.) AND IS THE TEAM LEADER AND CAPTAIN OF THAT HIGH SCHOOL DYNASTY SQUAD. HE IS TREMENDOUS IN TERMS OF SPORTSMANSHIP AND DEDICATION TO THE SPORT. HE WILL BE PLAYING COLLEGE TENNIS THIS SCHOOL YEAR AND THE PAST YEAR OR SO MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE IN TERMS OF HIS FAMILY AND REMAINED IN IOWA CITY TO TRY AND KEEP THE GREAT HONORS COMING TO IOWA CITY WEST HIGH SCHOOL WITH HIS LEADERSHIP AND PLAYING ABILITIES. HE IS A WINNER IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD. HE ALSO AGAIN WAS THE 1ST TEAM ALL-MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONFERENCE SELECTION IN TENNIS, AN ALL-ACADEMIC CHOICE FOR THE LEAGUE DUE TO HIS SUPERIORITY IN THE CLASSROOM AND FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS NOW HAS BEEN THE "ATHLETE OF THE YEAR" FOR THE SPORT OF TENNIS IN HIS INTERSCHOLASTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE. LIKE ANATTA, FOR THE GIRLS JUNIOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR, THESE YOUNG ATHLETES ARE WHAT IS RIGHT ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS AND THE PROGRAMS OFFERED TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE IN THIS STATE!
Junior Recreational Player of the Year (1 male & 1 female)
Alex is a dedicated, hard-working junior tennis player. He has been a tournament player and has played #1 on the Western Dubuque boys tennis team for 3 years. This past few months he has beaten the #1 player from Wahlert Catholic in the MVO tourney and he led his team to a 8-1 win over Hempstead HS. He is a senior this year and will again be a leader for coach Karl Stubben's team. I have personally seen him at many tournaments and HS matches and his sportsmanship is exemplary. He loves tennis and hopes to play beyond his HS years. He is outstanding working with younger kids in teaching them the fundamentals of tennis. This past summer he taught in the Dubuque Recreational program, assisted at the Wahlert Catholic tennis clinic and taught some young people on his own. At our family tennis tournament where 24 grandchildren were involved he was the first to step out and help the younger kids with their strokes. Coach Stubben, his coach the last 3 years, stated "Since I began at Western Dubuque in 2005, I have not had a player that has been as committed to both the game and his team as Alex Meyer." Alex would be an excellent choice for the male Junior player of the year.
Junior Sportsmanship (1 male & 1 female junior player in each age group, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18's)
Arunadee Fernando G14s-
Arunadee got into tennis when she was five years old. Many kids started he sport with her, but slowly dropped it over time. This is where we saw her perseverance strongly show. Her enthusiasm and curiosity for tennis prevented her from dropping the amazing sport. From the start, Arunadee was taught that the game of tennis should be played by true champions; people who love the sport and respect it. Arunadee has consistently shown her deep love for tennis, but also her respect for herself and her opponents on and off the court. This has been evidenced, not only by her trophies but also by her Sportsmanship awards. • 2017 Sweet 16 Sportsmanship Award- G14 • CITA(Central Iowa Tennis Alliance) G14 Player of the Year 2016 • 2016 Super Sportsmanship Award- G14 • 2016 Futures Sportsmanship Award- G14 Among the many tournaments she won, she was the G12 Sweet Sixteen Singles and Doubles Champion in 2015.
Anthony Schulte B12s-
Anthony Schulte is a member of Westfield Tennis Club and a great player at the young age of 10. What stands out more than Anthony’s skill is the way he carries himself on the tennis court. Anthony is one of the most positive tennis players I have come across and it is even more impressive that he shows such an important quality at such a young age. If you talked to Anthony during a match, you would always assume he was winning based on his smile and upbeat tone. He has a true love for the game and it shows when he competes as he exudes fairness and respect for his opponents and everyone around him. Anthony regularly competes in USTA tournaments and in Junior Team Tennis. During a Junior Team Tennis match, Anthony was playing doubles and overruled a call that his partner had made. His partner had called the ball out, but Anthony had seen it as in. He awarded the other team the point. This stood out to me, because it would be very easy to agree with his partner and just take the point. It took a lot of honesty to give that point up. Another example of Anthony’s sportsmanship is not a specific example, but rather his view of competition. While Anthony strives to win every match he plays, he is not consumed by winning or losing. Anthony does not get caught up with winning trophies and medals; he competes because playing tennis at a high level is fun and rewarding to him. He does not complain if he loses nor does he brag when he wins and I believe that is what a true sportsman should act like. These exemplary characteristics that Anthony displays qualify him to receive the 2017 USTA Missouri Valley Sportsmanship award for the boy’s 12s division.
Facility of the Year
Don Klotz Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Iowa-
MICHELE CONLON DIRECTS A SUPERB FACILITY ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA THAT IS CERTAINLY A BIG TEN TENNIS VENUE THAT THE ENTIRE STATE OF IOWA CAN BE PROUD OF. THIS IS A TREMENDOUS FACILITY TO HOST STATE TOURNAMENTS AND IS USED EXTENSIVELY BY THE IOWA GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETIC UNION FOR PARTICULARLY GIRLS STATE AND REGIONAL TOURNAMENTS FOR BOTH CLASSES 1A AND 2A MOST YEARS. THE 12-COURT OUTDOOR COMPLEX IS EXEMPLARY. MATERIALS ARE VERY HELPFUL IN RUNNING A TOURNAMENT AND THIS FACILITY IS A HUGE REASON WHY TENNIS IS SO POPULAR AND KIDS AND ADULT CAN SHARE IN THEIR INVOLVEMENT WITH MICHELE AND HER KLOTZ TENNIS CENTER COURTS. EIGHT INDOOR COURTS HELP WHEN INCLEMENT WEATHER PLAYS A ROLE IN TENNIS ACTIVITY. EVERYTHING FROM SCOREBOARDS TO BLEACHERS TO CLASSROOMS AND MEETING AREAS HELP TO FACILITATE THE OPERATION OF A BIG-TIME TOURNAMENT IN IOWA CITY. THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT IN TERMS OF TENNIS WITH THIS VENUE AVAILABLE FOR SO MANY TENNIS ENTHUSIASTS AND ADMINISTRATORS OF THIS GREAT SPORT!
Tennis Family of the Year
Frank & Kay Dileo Family-
WHAT A CLASSY, ATHLETIC, DEDICATED, POSITIVE, AND EXEMPLARY FAMILY THIS IS. FRANK IS A TALENT SCOUT AND RECRUITER FOR THE NBA FRANCHISE, PHILADELPHIA 76ERS, KAY (WIFE) IS A COUNSELOR FOR IOWA CITY WEST HIGH SCHOOL, AND KAY IS AN ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETE (BASKETBALL) FOR DRAKE UNIVERSITY AND PLAYED HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS INCLUDING TENNIS AT GRUNDY CENTER HIGH SCHOOL, AND OLDEST SON DAVID WAS A TENNIS STAR AND PLAYED BASKETBALL AT WEST HIGH AND NOW IS ON SCHOLARSHIP IN MICHIGAN PLAYING COLLEGE BASKETBALL, AND YOUNGEST ON, BRAD, IS NOW A KEY FACTOR ON THE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AT IOWA CITY WEST AND STILL HAS HIGH SCHOOL ELIGIBILITY LEFT IN THE SPORT OF TENNIS SO HIS FUTURE IS ALSO BRIGHT DOWN THE ROAD. THE ENTIRE FAMILY STILL PLAYS TENNIS AND HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN I.T.A. TOURNAMENTS THIS YEAR AND IN PAST YEARS. KAY DI LEO IS A HALL OF FAME COACH AND ATHLETE AND WAS AN IGHSAU DISTINGUISHED PLAQUE OF DISTINCTION WINNER A FEW YEARS AGO WHICH IS THE HIGHEST AWARD GIVEN AWAY BY THE STATE ASSOCIATION DUE TO HER EFFORTS AS A GIRLS TENNIS COACH AT THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL. SHE ALSO COACHED WEST HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL AT ONE TIME AND EVEN COACHED COLLEGIALITY IN HER FAMOUS CAREER AT INDIANA STATE UNIVERSITY. THE ENTIRE FAMILY HAS MADE THE SPORT OF TENNIS A HIGH PRIORITY IN THEIR LIVES FOR MANY, MANY YEARS!
Outstanding Adult/Senior Tournament
Mississippi Valley Open Adults-
As the 49th year for the Premier Bank MVO tourney it was again a very successful event. Despite a wash-out on Friday night's mixed doubles and a 2 hour rain delay on Saturday all matches were completed and prizes presented. Our tourney thanks to our generous sponsors and community support awarded $4900 to mens and women singles and doubles and mixed doubles. Players came from more than 10 different states and the mens champion was a top player from Tulane U. Other former Division 1 players came from Valparaiso, U. of Iowa, Gustavus Adolphus and included many of the top midwestern players. There were nearly 150 entries and 35 in the mens singles draw. We have added a number of new events in the last few years - 65 women's divisions, 75 mens singles and doubles and a 65 mixed event to open mixed play in 4 levels (open, 35, 45, 65. We had 20 mixed doubles teams to add to the Friday night social setting which includes free pizza and salad and a beverage cart to add to the festive fun atmosphere. Saturday night barbecue is also provided to all players at the Dubuque Golf and Country Club. 34 different divisions of play are offered and play was completed in more than 20 of them. Using 5 different sites requires helpful and experienced court supervisors and our volunteers are invaluable in running a well organized tourney. Our media coverage is excellent and our seeding and scheduling went well. The country club setting plus a tent provide excellent seating for spectators at Sunday's semi and final matches. The locker room facilities and the great ambiance for viewing and gathering of tennis players and fans makes for a great highlight for the Dubuque tennis summer season. An added feature of the 2017 tourney was a written history of the MVO tourneys dating back to the 1st junior and adult event August 22-24, 1969. Also we posted a summary of the past adult champions from 1969, 1975, 1985, 1990 and 1995-2016 in each event.
Outstanding Junior Tournament
Mississippi Valley Open Junior-
Our junior tournament was very successful again in 2017. 160+ total entries resulted in great play and an enjoyable tourney. Our volunteers again were crucial to making 5-6 sites work efficiently. The seeding, scheduling and overall organization went well with a veteran TD for his 3rd year and a great committee of tennis backers to support the tourney. Premier Bank and others help to make the play and time comfortable. A Monday night pizza party is a big plus for the players. A certified official assists the tourney and the staff at the country club also helps with its overall operation. The 10 and under divisions have been a great addition. The Dubuque Golf and Country Club works as an excellent base and location for the semis and finals. Consolation play also guaranteed all players a minimum of 2 matches. Last year we added the Carter Giese award for good sportsmanship and fair play. The award replaced the Paul Britt award and is in memory of the former state champion and outstanding young man who died in the spring of 2009.
High School Coach of the Year
JIM FOTH HAS BEEN THE LONG-TIME MENTOR AND HEAD VARSITY TENNIS COACH FOR THE MARION INDIANS AND HAS DONE A BRILLIANT JOB IN RECENT YEARS BRINING MARION HIGH SCHOOL TO A VERY COMPETITIVE LEVEL IN THE WAMAC CONFERENCE AND HE HAS BUILT A SIGNIFICANT PROGRAM AT MARION HIGH SCHOOL WHICH IS BECOMING ONE OF THE STRENGTHS OF CLASS 1A BOYS TENNIS IN THE HIGH SCHOOL ACTION IN IOWA. HE MIGHT BE BEST KNOWN FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF RANDON HORNBACK, AN OUTSTANDING TENNIS PLAYER FOR THE INDIANS IN HIGH SCHOOL A HANDFUL OF YEARS AGO, AND THEN WENT ON TO A SIGNIFICANT CAREER AT WARTBURG OLLEGE AND WAS A RECENT GRADUATE AND MAINSTAY OF THE KNIGHT'S MEN'S TENNIS TEAM. HORNBACK NOW IS A TEACHING PROFESSIONAL IN CEDAR RAPIDS WORKING QUITE A BIT THROUGH WESTFIELD TENNIS CLUB AND THE CEDAR RAPIDS RECREATION COMMISSION. I MENTION THIS BECAUSE OF THE DEVELOPEMENT OF BRANDON UNDER THE COACHING OF MR. FOTH DURING BRANDON'S HIGH SCHOOL DAYS. MOST RECENTLY IN THE SPRING OF 2017, BESIDES THE GREAT IMPRESSION THAT COACH FOTH AND THE INDIANS MADE IN THEIR CONFERENCE ACTION, HE HAD TWO PLAYERS THAT REACHED THE STATE TENNIS TOURNAMENT AT BYRNES PARK IN WATERLOO IN LATE MAY. TWO SENIORS, NATE MEISTER & MAVERICK MILLER HAD A GREAT STATE TOURNAMENT GOING IN AS DISTRICT CHAMPIONS AND RUNNER-UPS FOR THE 2017 ATHLETIC SEASON. THOUGH THEY BOTH GRADUATE, THE TEAM THAT HE HAS BUILT AND THE CULTURE HE HAS DEVELOPED WILL PAY BIG DIVIDENDS FOR THE FUTURE OF MARION HIGH SCHOOL TENNIS! coach FOTH HAS BEEN A ROLE MODEL FOR ATHLETES UNDER HIS DIRECTION IN MARION!
Outstanding Diversity Achievement
Special Olympics Iowa -
The partnership between Special Olympics Iowa and USTA Iowa District is one of the longest. Special Olympics Iowa became a USTA organizational member in 2003 and the collaboration between our two organizations began almost instantly. Special Olympics Iowa is one of the few states that has and continues to offer tennis as one of its competitive sports for their athletes. They are also one state that has a large number or percentage of athletes that play the sport. This year during their Summer Games close to 100 athletes competed in their singles and doubles tournaments. SOI divides their athletes into five skill cateogories; Skills, Red Ball, Orange Ball, Green Ball and Yellow Ball with closely mirrored ROGY courts. Since our partnership, projects that have been completed include; taped video training's for SOI coaches, held two tennis coaches clinics, conversion from just the yellow ball of all categories to the ROGY pathway, joint equipment distribution throughout Iowa, helped with district grants to get athletes to several USA Games, elevate their Summer Games with USTA officials, collaborated to bring the first Special Olympics national games to Ames, partnered and helped organized the Iowa All Star district events. As many special Olympics state offices around the country had dropped or decreased their participation with the sport of tennis, Special Olympics Iowa is just the opposite. Here in Iowa, we have a strong tennis population engaged in the sport, and that is largely due to the progressive efforts and and staff headquartered in Grimes called Special Olympics Iowa.
THOUGH KEVIN HAS WON NEARLY EVERY AWARD THAT IS OFFERED AT THE STATE LEVEL BY THE IOWA TENNIS ASSOCIATOIN, PERHAPS IT IS FITTING AROUND HIS OCCUPYING COMMITTEE CHAIRS, OFFICER POSITIONS, AND ALONG WITH HIS STELLAR TENNIS PLAYING ABILITIES THAT HE MIGHT WIN THIS SERVICED AWARD DUE TO HIS CONTINUING INTEREST AND DEDICATION TO THE SPORT OF TENNIS FOR PEOPLE OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES..HE HAS DONE A YEOMAN'S JOB AT ASSISTING WITH TOURNAMENTS, GIVING VALUABLE ADVICE TO TENNIS PLAYERS, ENTHUSIASTS AND DIRECTORS ALIKE IN A PROFESSIONAL WAY THAT PAVES THE WAY TO GREAT TENNIS ACTIVITIES IN OUR CITY OF CEDAR RAPIDS AND AROUND THE STATE.. HE HAS DONE A GREAT DEAL WITH THE UNDERPRIVILEGED AND HADICAPPED INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE STILL VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN THE SPORT OF TENNIS. HIS UNSELFISHNESS IS UNMATCHED IN TERMS OF OTHER ADULTS ASSOCIATED WITH THIS GREAT SPORT. HE IS RETIRED AS A PROFESSOR AT KIRKWOOD COMMUNITY COLLEGE, BUT STILL DOES A LOT IN THE WAY OF TEACHING WITH THE MANY ACTIVITIES HE IS INVOLVED WITH AND LEADING THE PACK WITH T E N N I S !