West Liberty Tennis Team Garners Honors
TEMPE, Ariz. – Coach Heather Gallagher’s West Liberty University women’s tennis team received a pair of prestigious honors on Tuesday when the Intercollegiate Tennis Association released its annual postseason awards.
Senior standout Carleyah Mclean won the ITA’s Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for the Atlantic Region while the Hilltopper team earned the ITA’s Atlantic Region Community Service Award.
“Carleyah is a very deserving recipient of this award and I couldn’t be happier for her,” Gallagher said. “She’s a very mature and determined young woman who is committed to using her education to help those facing addiction and battle human trafficking. Carleyah impressed her teammates this season as the most improved player on the team and has been an inspiration to us on and off the court. We’re thrilled she decided to come back for her final season as a graduate student at West Liberty.”
Mclean is a native of Pickering, Ont. who transferred to WLU two years ago from American International University and immediately carved out a place in Gallagher’s starting lineup. She graduated earlier this month with a degree in Criminal Justice and plans to return to the hilltop in the fall to pursue her master’s degree in Criminology.
The ITA’s Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award dates back to 1982 and is presented annually to the male and female student-athlete who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
Mclean checked off all of those boxes. A consistent winner in the middle of the WLU lineup, her maturity and leadership proved invaluable as the only senior on a youthful but talented squad. Off the court, she served an internship at the Wheeling YWCA where she worked to assist homeless individuals and individuals seeking shelter from domestic violence.
In addition to Mclean’s efforts at the YWCA, the West Liberty women’s tennis team was actively engaged in several other community service endeavors over the course of the year. The major initiative was working in conjunction with Carlow (Pa.) College of Pittsburgh to collect tennis equipment and clothing for a school in Jamaica desperately in need of supplies for their tennis program. The WLU women not only donated some of their own personal belongings but organized an equipment and apparel drive with the local tennis community. The end result was a dozen large boxes and bags stuffed with everything from rackets, clothing, shoes, strings, etc. to be combined with the items collected in Pittsburgh for the school.
As a regional award winner, Mclean is one of eight finalists for the ITA National Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award while the Hilltoppers are finalists for the ITA National Community Service Award. Both awards will be announced later this month.