Tennis Programs Receive ITA Academic Honors

July 18, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University women's tennis program, WCC Player of the Year Christine Limbers, and three players from the Bronco men's team were honored by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association for academic achievements this past season.

Senior Rick Ruso, junior Erich Chen and sophomore Ben Hidalgo were honored from the men's program and were among 200 honorees, while Limbers was honored with 300 other women across the country. All four Bronco student-athletes finished the academic year with a GPA of at least 3.50.The women's team was just one of 72 programs honored after finishing the 2003 season with a team GPA of at least a 3.20.

Chen, of nearby San Jose, led the Broncos at the top singles and doubles spots this season and finished the year with a 3.57 GPA. He is a two-time Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Athlete honoree and earned All-WCC honors this past year in singles. Chen posted 19 victories, and handed a ranked opponent his only loss of the season.

Ruso, of Visalia, graduated in the spring with a 3.51 GPA, but will attend graduate school while completing his final year of eligibility. He competed in singles and doubles for the Broncos this past season and is currently ninth in SCU career doubles victories, with 40.

Like Ruso, Hidalgo, of Plano, Texas, also graduated this spring 3.71, but will remain on campus as a graduate student to complete his eligibility. Hidalgo was a spark to the singles lineup throughout the season.

For Limbers, a native of Carefree, Ariz., finished her senior season with a 3.61 GPA. She earned the Bronco program's first WCC Player of the Year award and also earned first team All-WCC singles and doubles honors. She has led the Broncos the past four seasons at the top singles and doubles spots and was recently named to the Verizon Academic All-District VIII at-large third team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

As a team, the women finished with a 3.49 GPA, leading all 17 Bronco programs.

"I am very impressed with my team's academic success," women's tennis head coach Aby Ryan said. "A 3.49 GPA is outstanding by itself, so to have that as a team average is phenomenal. They work extremely hard to keep their grades up; even on our road trip to Hawaii they had voluntary study hours."