by Chuck Pool (firstname.lastname@example.org) - Katherine Ip and David Warren, who have provided the cornerstone of six Conference USA titles during their combined careers at Rice, were named the Texas regional winners of the ITA’s ITA/Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for their respective sports on Tuesday.
The Ashe Award recognizes outstanding individuals in all divisions at the regional and national level. The award which dates back to 1982, goes to NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO men's and women's players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. Each of the regional winners are now finalists for the national honor which will be announced on Tuesday, May 23.
This marks the first time since 2007 and the third time since the award’s creation in 1993 that the Owls have swept the Ashe Awards for the region. Jane Trinh and current Rice men’s coach Efe Ustundag earned the accolades in 1998, Karen Chao and Richard Barker were honored in 2003 while Blair DiSesa and Robert Searle were tabbed in 2005.
This is the second consecutive year a Rice women’s player has earned the Texas area distinction Solomiya Zinko was honored last year and Ip is the seventh Rice women’s player selected. Warren is the first Rice men’s player tabbed since Christoph Müller in 2009. He is the seventh Rice men’s player to earn the honor.
Ip became the third Rice women’s tennis player to earn All-American honors in singles when she reached the round of 16 at the 2016 NCAA Singles Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She led the Owls to four consecutive C-USA titles and four berths in the NCAA Championship and clinched three consecutive opening round wins for the Rice women in NCAA action from 2014-16. She completed her career with a 78-31 career mark in singles, including a 57-20 mark in dual action. Off the court, she was named to the 2017 CoSIDA At-Large District 7 All-Academic team and is a finalist for CoSIDA Academic All-American honors after compiling a 3.99 GPA with a major in kinesiology.
Warren led the Owls to their first back-to-back men’s conference titles in men’s tennis since 1972 and is a two-time NCAA doubles qualifier with fellow senior Tommy Bennett. He was a combined 76-34 in singles and carries a career-mark of 80-50 into NCAA doubles action next week in Athens, Georgia. He carries a 3.27 GPA while majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He has twice been named Rice’s Honor Athlete for men’s tennis and is a member of the Rice University President’s Honor Roll and the CUSA Academic Honor Roll.