June 8, 2004
LOS GATOS, Calif. - Senior Erich Chen was named the Bronco of the Year, one of many awards handed out at the Santa Clara University men's tennis team's annual banquet, held Saturday afternoon in Los Gatos. The event was hosted by the Ruso family, and brought friends and family together to celebrate the season.
Freshman Bobby Rasmussen was named Most Improved Bronco, junior Taylor Bedilion repeated as the team's Mad Dog of the Year and senior Gernot Fischer was named the Roy T. Zepponi Rookie of the Year. The popular Bronco Fan of the Year award was shared by George and Annie Husack with Mike Kukreja.
The Bronco of the Year award has been given annually to the player who best exemplifies what it means to play Bronco Tennis, including attitude, effort, support of teammates, results and best representation of the program. Chen, one of three seniors this season, completed a very successful Santa Clara career and placed himself atop the Bronco record books in both singles and doubles. The two-time team captain broke the singles mark on March 10, clinching a team victory against conference foe, San Francisco, and closed his career with 72. In doubles, Chen recorded three victories at the WCC Championship to claim the top spot with 63 career wins.
Fischer, a transfer from Tennessee Tech, was a unanimous selection for the Rookie of the Year. He earned first-team All-WCC honors in singles as well as honorable mention recognition by the league in doubles. In March, he secured in place in Bronco records by registering the highest individual singles national ranking in program history. He debuted at No. 81 and vaulted to No. 54 by the end of the month. Fischer also teamed with Eric Kochanski to record the highest regional (9th) and national (49th) doubles rankings in program annals, after becoming the first Bronco tandem to reach an ITA Regional final. Fischer led the Broncos in singles and doubles despite having spent only one season on the mission campus. He is now ranked fourth in single-season singles victories (23) and tied for second for his single-season efforts in doubles (20).
Rasmussen kicked off his collegiate career in fine fashion, pairing with another freshman to win a doubles title during fall play. In spring action, Rasmussen recorded 10 wins in his first 11 dual matches, with notable victories over nationally-ranked teams Arizona State, San Diego State and Pacific.
Bedilion's honor was named after former Bronco and 2000 graduate Scott Watters, who earned the nickname Mad Dog for his abilities to come through in the clutch when his team needed it the most. Bedilion recorded double-digit victories for a third consecutive season and finds himself within striking distance of the top singles record, as he is currently tied for seventh all-time with 56 career wins.
Fans of the Year George and Annie Husack were in charge of Hecklers on the Hill, a newly-created booster group for the tennis programs. Mr. Husack worked the grill while Mrs. Husack served food and sold memberships. Kukreja, a 2003 graduate, attended every home match in addition to many road contests.
2003-04 Santa Clara Men's Tennis AwardsBronco of the Year, Erich Chen
Most Improved, Bobby Rasmussen
Mad Dog of the Year, Taylor Bedilion
Roy T. Zepponi Rookie of the Year, Gernot Fischer
Fans of the Year, George & Annie Husack, Mike Kukreja