Thursday, May 12, 2011

Elise named 2011 Mignon Borleske Winner as top Student Athlete

-photo link here-

Hi everyone,

While our season was still going I didn't want to start looking back because we were focused on the tasks at hand, but now that we are done and finals are starting, I think I should share a few things about Elise as her Whitman tennis career comes to a close.  One of our programs most successful players ever, Elise won over 110 matches on her way to 4 first team All-NWC awards, twice being named an ITA/NCAA doubles All-American, once a singles All-American, a 5 time NWC student athlete of the week, several time Whittie of the Week as voted by her teammates as well as being voted NWC Sportswoman of the year for women's tennis as a senior.

This on court success, combined with everything she has done for the team, the campus, and our community has earned her this year's Mignon Borleske award.  At Whitman, the Mignon Borleske and Borleske awards are given to the senior student athlete who exemplifies the ideal student athlete at Whitman.  This means success in competition, leadership, scholarship and contributions to their community.

Along with Elise's tennis, she has grown into a mature and well rounded leader who sets an outstanding example for her teammates, encourages them with passion and understanding and mentors them is a way that is both compassionate and holds them accountable.  It has been a wonderful process to see these attributes develop in Elise over the past few years.  She's always had a huge heart, an immense amount of passion for Whitman tennis and a love of fun that is contagious; and each year she became more comfortable using these talents to help create a team environment that I am so proud to be a part of.  This year, our team returned 4 players from last year and each one of them absolutely was instrumental in raising our level of communication, teamwork, and competitiveness and Elise was so often at the forefront of these things.

Away from the team she has been involved in more things at Whitman than I can usually remember.  I use her as an example with recruits of what is possible in DIII tennis, though I am always careful to tell them that very few people can pull off so much activity while maintaining and improving their academics and tennis.  Elise has been involved in the student newspaper, radio, club ultimate frisbee, outdoor program leadership, volunteering and working as a coach, taking extra courses almost every semester, doing summer academic research and professional presentations and when she took a fall off to travel, instead of studying abroad she took a leave of absence to volunteer at an orphanage in Mexico.

The competition was tough, as so many Whitties are just flat out amazing people and this year was no exception with her fellow nominees all being incredibly deserving with their athletic scholastic and leadership qualities, but having won this award gives me a chance to share just how special Elise is to our program, how much we will miss her as we wish her the best upon graduation and how her legacy will no doubt carry our team forward for years to come.

Thanks Twitch.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Walla Walla Youth Tennis Connections

Hello all, so we're done with our season and it has been a blast.  One of the great things I enjoy during the summer is coaching local kids in our City of Walla Walla Parks and Rec programs and two of my tennis students, Alyssa & Alexis Stremcha, entered a national video contest by Dairy Queen to win one of 6 Mini Coopers. Of the thousands of videos that were entered, they made the TOP 24!!!!!!! Between now & the next week and a half, the final 6 winners will be determined by America’s vote. All voting is done via FaceBook. I am asking that everyone who has a FaceBook account to please go & vote for my students to win a car! Please post it to your FaceBook account & tell all your friends. The more people who know, the more votes they get! The more votes they get, the higher chance of winning a car! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE vote today, these are great kids and this is a super cute video! Thanks! 
Coach John
How To Vote:
1.   Log in to
2.   Scroll to “Vote For The Best Mini Treatment Video”.
3.   Click “Go”.
4.   Scroll down page to “Mini Blizzard Celebration” by Ross Stremcha.
5.   Click “Vote”.
6.   Login to Facebook. (You must have a FaceBook account to vote)
7.   Click “Allow” on ‘Request For Permission’.
How To Post To Your Wall:
1.   Check box to ‘Share On Your Wall’ & then type the following directions on ‘Post To Your Wall’. This is important because it clearly tells your friends what to do so they can vote successfully.
*Directions: To vote, click on the video title. It will take you to the video page. Click the red box “Vote For This Video”. Write “please vote” in the comment box. Click ‘add comment’. Copy & paste the * directions in the ‘Post To             Your Wall’ box.
2.   Click “Publish”.
3. Thanks for voting!!!!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


This past week we finished the team portion of our season, but we weren't finished yet as we entered our two sophomores Alyssa and Kate into the historic Ojai Tournament in Southern California.  It is a HUGE tourney with great history in its 111th year!  Ojai was also named USTA tennis town USA as the finals of all draws are played at Libbey Park, a public facility that each year hosts this amazing event.  Draws include the Pac-10 championships, Independent Colleges, DIII men, Junior colleges, juniors, and the CIF high school championships.  There used to be a DIII women's draw but for several years we've competed in the Independent singles with DII and NAIA schools.  You can read about the Ojai and find links to all the draws on their site at

Alyssa's mom and cousin came down and so we had a small cheering section as ShoPo breezed through her first round against Cal Lu's Jordan Leckness.  Kate started strong on serve with UCSC's #2 player, senior Taylor Mannix, but at 2-3 was broken and never really recovered with Taylor taking 9 straight games to win 6-0,6-2.  The tennis was close and Kate showed she has all the tools to compete at a very high level and this match and this weekend should really help her in getting her match play to the next level.

Soon after her match, Alyssa went on for her second round against Natalie McNall, the 16 seed and one of the top players at Azusa Pacific University, currently the #6 team in the nation in NAIA.  Natalie is also #31 nationally in her division.  Alyssa came out well but couldn't quite hold serve, then Natalie took it to her for a couple games to go up 2 breaks 4-0.  The 4th game was much better on Natalie's serve, then Alyssa held and was up I believe 15-30, maybe 15-40 when she hit a forehand and then turned her ankle.  In her two years, I have seen her tough out minor injuries, but this was a bad sprain so she retired from singles and we pulled them out of doubles.

Luckily, nothing was broken and despite hobbling around on crutches, not playing doubles and having a fair bit of pain and swelling (sausage toes on the plane home), Alyssa and Kate had a great couple of days taking in the great tennis from the Men's DIII draw where Andrew and Conor competed as well as watching some Pac 10 singles at Libbey Park.  The atmosphere of this tournament is special, the level of play is high and I know that these two will bring back a wealth of excitement and experience as they lead our team as upperclassmen.

For now, its really nice to be back home in Walla Walla, I hope you're all enjoying your Spring out there.