Women's Tennis Team Earns ITA All-Academic Award

Four Bearcats Achieve Individual Academic Honors

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's tennis team has received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team award for the 2010-11 season as a result of the Bearcats' efforts in the classroom. In order to qualify for the award, the Bearcats needed to achieve a team cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale. 

In addition, Willamette placed four women's tennis players on the 2010-11 ITA Scholar-Athlete list. They were Emily Funabiki (Fr., Pullman, WA/Pullman HS), Katie Huber (So., Saint Peter, MN/Saint Peter HS), Shannon Palmer (Jr., Salem, OR?Sprague HS) and Brooke Sessums (Sr., Stayton, OR/Stayton HS). Huber qualified for the Scholar-Athlete list for the second year in a row.

Sessums ('11) graduated from Willamette this spring with a major in Psychology. Palmer, who studied abroad in the fall of 2010 in Japan, is majoring in Exercise Science and Japanese Studies. Huber is majoring in Politics. Funabiki, who recently completed her first year at Willamette, is undecided regarding her major.

Overall, 72 women's tennis teams competing in NCAA Division III qualified for the All-Academic Team award in 2010-11. A total of 448 women's tennis players in Division III received ITA Scholar-Athlete status.

Palmer and doubles partner Natalia Agarycheva (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Prairie HS/U. of Northern Colorado) qualified for the NCAA Division III Women's Tennis Championships in doubles. Agarycheva ('11) and Palmer went 14-3 in doubles and were ranked #19 in the nation and #3 in the West Region in the final ITA Rankings.

Players receiving the ITA Scholar-Athlete award were required to achieve at least a 3.5 grade point average (4.0 scale) during the 2010-11 academic year. They also had to be letterwinners on their respective teams and had to attend their current colleges or universities for at least one full academic year by the end of the season.

Head Coach Becky Roberts completed her 11th season at Willamette in 2010-11. She led the Bearcats to a 10-7 overall record during the year, including 7-5 (4th place) in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats qualified for the NWC Tournament and ended the year ranked #11 in the West Region.

Shannon Palmer earned ITA Scholar-Athlete honors in addition to qualifying for the NCAA Championships in doubles.

Shannon Palmer earned ITA Scholar-Athlete honors in addition to qualifying for the NCAA Championships in doubles.