CLAREMONT, Calif. – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps senior men's tennis player Daniel Park earned the Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for the 2019-20 season, the organization announced today.
The Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award, endowed by Billie Jean King, is in its third year and is chosen from a pool of nominees from all three NCAA divisions representing both genders. It was created to honor a recent college graduate who played college tennis and demonstrated excellence on and off the court, leadership on his or her team, as well as on his or her college campus and in his or her community. Previous winners were Nithya Kanagasegar of Case Western Reserve (2018) and Drew Akins of Duquesne (2019).
As this year's recipient of the award, Park will receive a post-graduate scholarship, and the ITA will donate $1,000 to the CMS men's tennis program.
"I am honored to receive the ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award, and am proud to represent CMS Athletics," said Park. "I can't thank my coaches, teammates, friends and family enough for their endless support of me on and off the tennis court. I would like to thank the ITA for not only this award but also for their profound investment in student-athletes. Without them, none of this would be possible. I would also like to thank all the coaches, faculty, and staff at CMS Athletics. Because of you, students get to live out their dreams, and create lasting memories."
Park is a two-year co-captain, twice helping the Stags reach the NCAA Division III national championship match during his career. His career record stands at 125-40, while his 62-13 singles record gives him the third-best winning percentage (.827) in program history. He was ranked No. 31 in the nation in singles his senior year (No. 10 in the West Region).
"Daniel is a student-athlete leader unlike any I have ever worked with in my seventeen years as a head coach," said CMS head coach Paul Settles. "His maturity, poise, and self-awareness are beyond measure for a young man of only twenty-one years of age. He is an exceptional listener, organizer, and implementer, seeking out his teammates to understand them as people and as players."
Park and the Stags were 14-1 and ranked No. 2 in the nation when spring sports were suspended in March. The program's combined record in dual matches over his four seasons was an impressive 109-11, including 30 or more wins in each of his first three complete campaigns, a figure that the Stags were on track to reach again this spring.
Off the court, Park is a science and management major at Claremont McKenna. He has partnered with RxAll to address the counterfeit drug epidemic in Nigeria and has volunteered with Pomona Promise to help prepare food for the homeless. He has also regularly been part of the CMS contingent which teaches physical education classes at nearby Mountain View Elementary School.
"I am grateful to have found a passion for developing the people around me through Division III Tennis," said Park. "I will carry the relationships I have built in my career as a Division III athlete with me forever."
To read the ITA release on Daniel Park, go to the following link:
Daniel Park Awarded 2020 ITA Ann Lebedeff Leadership Award