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Katherine Wurster helped CMS to its second straight national title
Katherine Wurster helped CMS to its second straight national title

Katherine Wurster Wins ITA West Region Rookie of the Year Award for CMS Women's Tennis

CLAREMONT, Calif. - Katherine Wurster of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's tennis team earned the ITA West Region Rookie of the Year Award, while Caitlin Bernard captured the ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year, the organization announced this week.

By winning the regional honors, both Wurster and Bernard are in the running for the ITA National Awards, which will be announced on Wednesday. 

Wurster earned All-America honors in singles after winning the ITA West Region Championship in the fall, defeating Angie Zhou of Pomona-Pitzer in the final (who went on to win the NCAA singles championship in the spring). Wurster then went 2-1 at the ITA Cup, capped by a three-set win over Crystal Zhou of Carnegie Mellon in consolations.  She was a first-team All-SCIAC selection and an NCAA Qualifier in singles. She finished the season with an 18-9 record in singles and a 25-9 mark in doubles, while helping the Athenas to a 27-1 final record and their second straight national title. 

Wurster becomes the first Athena to win the ITA West Region Rookie of the Year since Nicole Tan captured it in 2017 (Justine Leong, the No. 1 ranked player in the country, would have been the almost certain winner in 2020 before the COVID shutdown). 

Bernard has contributed to back-to-back national championships in her first two years with the program. Sicne Bernard joined the Athenas, CMS has compiled a 54-4 record, and has avenged every one of its four losses later in the season (Emory, Pomona-Pitzer, Chicago) on its way to two national titles. Bernard joined CMS after a standout playing career which saw her rise to the No. 1 singles position for Indiana University while receiving a national ranking in doubles, after compiling a 28-7 record in 2018 with doubles partner Natalie Whalen. 

Bernard becomes the third assistant under head coach David Schwarz to win the ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year honor after Andrew Thomson captured it in 2016, Schwarz's second season at the helm. Nyssa Peele then earned it in 2019 after her second season with the Athenas, which came one year after helping CMS to its first national title in 2018.  

CMS has now won three national titles in program history. After winning in 2018, it finished as the national runner-up in 2019 before a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic (the Athenas were 14-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation at the time of the 2020 shutdown). Since returning, CMS has come back to win the last two titles in a row to finish as national champions in three of its last four tournaments.