ROME, GA. – The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (“ITA”) is pleased to announce Santiago Perez (Columbus State) and Sarah Pertsemlidis (MIT) as the 2022 ITA Cup James O’Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Award Winners.
Given out each year at the conclusion of the ITA Cup, the James O’Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Award recognizes two student-athletes each year who exemplify the spirt of college tennis and show great sportsmanship throughout the tournament. To be eligible for this award, student-athletes must have reached the finals of the singles main draw.
As a graduate transfer from the NAIA institution Xavier University of Louisiana, Perez brought a level of maturity and passion to this year’s tournament that was evident in every match he played. Finishing as a ITA Cup Semifinalists numerous times with XULA, Perez was finally able to earn the top individual honors this season, winning a hard-fought match in the Finals to be crowned a National Champion.
It was evident being around any of Perez’s matches just how much of an impact he makes on his teammates through the passion and spirt he plays with on every point. Not only would his play inspire his teammates around him, but many former XULA student-athletes and coaches made time to cheer him on during his matches, recognizing the immense impact he had on the XULA program.
This now marks two straight seasons in which Columbus State has taken home the Division II Men’s Singles Title at the ITA Cup as Perez follows up Alvaro Regalado who won the event last year.
On the women’s side, Pertsemlidis of MIT battled through adversity throughout the 2022 ITA Cup, where she handled each bump in the road with grace and maturity, finishing runner-up in the Division III Women’s Singles Draw.
Making MIT’s first appearance at the ITA Cup in program history, Persemlidis made the most of her opportunity in Rome, taking down many of the top player in Division III, including the No. 2 seed Olivia Soffer of Babson who took down Persemlidis at teh ITA New England Regional Championship just a few weeks prior.
Persemlidis demonstrated throughout the tournament great sportsmanship, treating her opponents and officials with respect from the first point to the last point of the match.
The James O’Hara Sargent Sportsmanship Awards are given in memory of Jim Sargent, former Media Manager for Rolex Watch USA. He was a great friend of college tennis, an ITA All-American who competed with outstanding success and sportsmanship at Lynchburg College, and afterward continued as a special partner to the ITA in his role with Rolex.