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Lady Flames Tennis Honored as ITA All-Academic Team, Feature 5 Scholar-Athletes

July 25, 2018  Lynchburg, Va.  RSS
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The Liberty Lady Flames tennis program was tabbed as a 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team for a sixth straight season.

The Liberty Lady Flames tennis program was tabbed as a 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team for a sixth straight season.

2018 ITA All-Academic Teams & Scholar Athletes - Division I Women

The Liberty Lady Flames tennis program was tabbed as a 2018 Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic Team for a sixth straight season, as released by the ITA this week.

The ITA All-Academic Team award is made up of programs that maintained a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.20 or above (on a 4.0 scale). Liberty women's tennis posted a 3.38 GPA during the 2017-18 school year and holds a 3.38 cumulative GPA.

Additionally, five Lady Flames – Ashley Bongart, Audrey Brown, Evangeline Crist, Grace Hashiguchi and Aleksandra Panchenko – were all named to the 2018 ITA Scholar-Athlete team.

To be eligible for the ITA Scholar-Athlete team, a student-athlete must be a varsity letterwinner, have a GPA of at least 3.50 for the current academic year and have been enrolled at the present institution for a minimum of two semesters.

"I'm proud of how hard our girls work in the classroom. It is a testament to their commitment to be excellent in all phases of their lives – academics, athletics, social and spiritual," stated Liberty Women's Tennis Head Coach Jeff Maren. "I have no doubt that we will continue this level of excellence again this year."

The Lady Flames have collected All-Academic Team recognition in all six years of Maren's tenure as head coach.

Bongart earns her first academic award with Liberty following a successful first season with the Lady Flames as a junior during the 2017-18 campaign. The Brandenton, Fla., native captured 23 singles victories in her first season in Lynchburg, earning Big South First Team All-Conference singles squad status for her efforts. Bongart is majoring in digital media: performance.

Brown collects her second academic award while at Liberty (Big South Presidential Honor Roll) and first from the ITA. As a junior, she tallied a pair of doubles wins alongside Evangeline Crist in the spring. The Tampa Bay, Fla., native is a public health: health promotion major.

Crist, who just graduated in May, is being recognized as an ITA Scholar-Athlete for the fourth straight year. She obtained a bachelor's degree in business administration marketing and advertising with a minor in graphic design and is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. The Lilburn, Ga., native, a second team all-conference singles honoree in 2018, became the school's all-time leader in both singles (92) and doubles wins (94) during her senior season.

Hashiguchi, a freshman who intends to major in elementary education integrated studies: math, put together a strong showing in the classroom in earning her first ITA Scholar-Athlete distinction. The Rockville, Md., native also put together an impressive campaign on the tennis court. She posted a 20-5 overall mark in doubles bouts, including a 16-2 mark with her partner, junior Rebekah Anderson. For their play, the duo garnered inclusion on the Big South Conference First Team All-Conference doubles list and Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) University Division All-State Doubles second team. 

Panchenko, who hails from Moscow, Russia, is an ITA Scholar-Athlete for the second time (also in 2017) after achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA, this year. On the tennis court as a junior, she tallied three doubles victories in spring competition. Panchenko graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in information systems – database.

In all, 735 teams and 4,328 student-athletes across all five divisions of college tennis were honored.