Dradá, Ravita, Calhoun Bring in ITA Regional Honors
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) announced the 2015-16 Division I regional award winners on Monday, with Kentucky earning heavy representation within the Ohio Valley Region. Head coach Carlos Dradá was named the 2016 Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year while Kevin Calhoun was named the ITA Assistant Coach of the Year. Additionally, senior Nadia Ravita earned the ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship.
The three awards mark the most regional accolades that Kentucky has earned in nearly two decades. It is also the fourth consecutive year that a Kentucky player or coach has earned an ITA regional award. National award winners for Division I will be announced on Tuesday, May 24.
Dradá and Calhoun earned their respective awards for the second time in their careers, after both earning the distinction previously in 2014. The duo led Kentucky to a 17-8 regular-season record for the highest regular-season winning percentage since 2007. Additionally, the team tied last year’s Southeastern Conference record of 6-7, which was also a best for the program since 2007. Under their guidance, Kentucky had six players in the January ITA Regional rankings, the most regionally-ranked players in the Ohio Valley Region, and the tandem of Mami Adachi and Aldila Sutjiadi rose to national prominence as the current top-ranked doubles pairing in collegiate tennis. Additionally, Sutjiadi was named to the SEC First Team, a first for a Wildcat since the 2006 campaign.
Calhoun had nothing but praise for Dradá, explaining, “Carlos could not be more deserving of this award, and I am thrilled that he is being recognized for his accomplishments. He is a knowledgeable and skilled coach, but his staff and players will all say that he is an even better person. He inspires those around him by being an example of hard work, perseverance, loyalty and servant leadership. I am very proud to have stood by his side for the last six years.”
On his own accolade, Calhoun said, “It is humbling to receive this award. Every coaching award is a reflection of the players in the program, and the student-athletes in the women’s tennis program at Kentucky are first-rate in every way. It has been my pleasure to coach them and to be taught by them.”
Ravita earned the second ITA regional award of her career after being named the Ohio Valley Rookie of the Year in 2013 and is the third Wildcat to earn the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship, joining Christine Johnson (2010) and Kelsey Dieters (2015). The senior posted a 13-8 singles record and was a part of a nearly undefeated doubles team along with freshman Justina Mikulskyte, as the two went 8-1 in the No. 3 spot before going undefeated in No. 2 doubles to close the season at 8-0.
The ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship goes to a Division I women’s player who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, which has enhanced her team’s performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis. It dates back to 1997 and is in memory of the late Penn women’s tennis coach, Cissie Leary.
“I am excited that Nadia got the Cissie Leary award,” beamed Dradá. “In my opinion, Nadia has exemplified sportsmanship during pressure-filled situations and has led herself and her teammates with class and a strong work ethic during the past four years. It is great to see her effort and behavior recognized in the culmination of her college career.”
Calhoun added to the sentiment, saying, “Nadia is what college athletics is all about. She puts others before herself, gives her all to the team, and sacrifices her own needs. Her career will be remembered for her wins on the court, but also for her spirit of sportsmanship and graciousness. Nadia is a Wildcat in every meaning of the word.”
Kentucky will compete in the first round of the NCAA Championship team tournament. UK earned a No. 2 seed and will take on No. 3 seed Xavier on Friday, May 13 at 10 a.m. ET in Ann Arbor, Mich. The winner of the match will then face the winner of the No. 1 Michigan-No. 4 Ball State match in the second round on Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday’s winner will advance to Tulsa for the Round of 16.
Visit UKathletics.com for the most up-to-date information on the Kentucky women’s tennis team and all 22 varsity sports. For additional info, notes, and behind-the-scenes updates, follow the team on Twitter at @UKWomensTennis and on Facebook.