Crystal Juan Earns ITA Most Improved Senior Award for CMS Women's Tennis
CLAREMONT, Calif. - Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's tennis senior Crystal Juan earned the national Most Improved Senior Award from the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the organization announced today.
Juan's improvement was a major factor in the national championship that the Athenas captured this season with a 27-3 final record. She wasn't in the regular singles lineup for the Athenas as a first-year or a sophomore in 2019 and 2020, but came back after the pandemic hiatus and vaulted all the way up to the No. 1 spot, earning All-America distinction for the second time after capturing it as a doubles player in 2020.
Juan finished the year with a 17-10 record, including 10-8 in duals, but more critically, her improvement and ascent to the No. 1 spot allowed the CMS depth to shine through. Fellow senior Sydney Lee had a big year at No. 2 (19-5 in singles, with one of the losses to Division I Bowling Green), and newcomers Audrey Yoon (20-5), Ella Brissett (24-3), and Nikolina Batoshvili (17-5) all were able to put up dominant won-loss records lower on the ladder.
CMS started slowly with a 1-2 record at the ITA Indoor Nationals in March, but then hit its stride late in the year, dominating its way through the NCAA Championships, dropping only three points in five matches (5-0 over SUNY-Oneonta, 5-0 over Case Western, 5-2 over MIT, 5-0 over Wesleyan and 5-1 over Chicago). It was the second national title in program history after the 2018 team captured the first one, during Juan's senior year of high school. CMS finished as the runner-up in 2019, and was undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the nation in 2020, before the sudden shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After capturing the team title, Juan advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division III Singles Championship, clinching All-America distinction. She also had a big personal moment when her three-set victory providing the clinching point in a 5-4 win over Pomona-Pitzer in the SCIAC Championship, after the Sagehens had won the first two head-to-head meetings.