WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Three weeks after becoming UNCW’s inaugural First-Team All-Conference selection in the CAA, junior Christina Lee has been named the Carolina Region recipient of the Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
Lee, from Charlotte, N.C., is one of 12 players nationally to receive the regional honor and is now eligible for the national award to be announced on May 24.
The award is given each season to an individual who displays inspiring dedication and commitment to her team, and who has enhanced her team's performance and exemplified the spirit of college tennis. It is named for former Penn women’s tennis coach Catherine “Cissie” Leary, who died in 1996 of scleroderma, a chronic systemic autoimmune disease.
“This is a high honor for Christina since only one player out of our entire region of more than 50 schools is recognized,” said UNCW coach Jenny Garrity. “Christina is so deserving of an award based on her contributions to the team, as well as how those contributions are displayed daily with her teammates and in the heat of battle during matches.
“She had a tremendous season and this really caps it off so well, especially at the end of the year when it reflects her entire body of work and not just a few matches. I know this means a great deal to her because of how respectful she is with everyone and how much she values fairness, teamwork and sportsmanship.”
Lee swept to a 20-4 singles record this season as the Seahawks climbed as high as No. 67 in the ITA rankings and finished with a 22-5 team record. The Providence Day graduate owns a sparkling 50-12 mark in three seasons.
“I’m honored to receive this award,” said Lee, a mathematics major. “While it’s nice to be individually recognized, this award truly reflects the culmination of what I’ve learned over the years from my family, coaches and teammates.”
The award marks the second sportsmanship honor for the team this season. On April 11, the ITA presented the UNCW women’s tennis team with the governing body’s sportsmanship award for outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis.