FORT MYERS, FL (October 13) - Marco Carvajal of Oklahoma Baptist University and Fausthy Pietersz of Tyler Junior College were named the winners of the 2013 James O'Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Awards, presented by Rolex Watch, USA, at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships.
The James O'Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Award honors players who display outstanding sportsmanship and exemplify the spirit of college tennis during the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships hosted by the Three Oak Tennis Center in Fort Myers, FL. To be eligible for this award, the players must reach the finals in their divisional singles/doubles draw.
The award is given in memory of Jim Sargent, former Media Manager for Rolex Watch, USA, who was the victim of a fatal car accident in 2000. Jim was a great friend of college tennis, an ITA All-American who competed with outstanding success and sportsmanship at Lynchburg College, and afterwards continued as a special partner to the ITA in his role with Rolex.
Both winners were presented with their awards on Saturday by Angel Prinos, Associate Director of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
"This award is a big thing not only for me but for my coach, the university, my parents, and the coaches I had all my life playing tennis," said Carvajal, who was runner up in the NAIA men's singles event. "It's not my award, it's an award for all the people that taught me well in life and gave me the lessons that they gave me everyday."
Oklahoma Baptist Head Men's Tennis Coach Peter McCorkle said he was pleased, but not surprised to learn that Carvajal had won the award.
"Character is a big part for him, and a big part for our university and our tennis team," McCorkle said. "We stress that winning is great, but character is the most important. Marco is one who proves himself to be a successful tennis player on the court, and he's a successful person off the court. I think that character just continually shows on the tennis court."
Pietersz was surprised to be chosen as the women's recipient of the 2013 James O'Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Award, presented by Rolex Watch, USA. She won the JuCo women's doubles title with partner Joanna Savva and was runner up in the women's singles final.
"I want to thank everyone who voted for me and for the support that I get from both my teammates and my coach," Pietersz said. "I was not expecting this award. When it comes to officials and coaches I just try to be as respectful as I can because they are the authority figure on the court, so I just try and show my respect to them."
"I think this is perfect," said Tyler Junior College Head Coach Dash Connell. "On and off the court I think she's an all-star. She's the kind of athlete I want at my school all the time."