Gustavus Adolphus senior women’s tennis player Lyndsey Palen (Rochester, Minn.) has been named the 2006 national NCAA Division III recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA)/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
The Ashe Award, one of the most prestigious in collegiate tennis, goes to a player who has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. Palen, who was also honored as the representative for the NCAA Division III Central Region, is the fourth Gustavus women’s tennis player to receive the honor, following Mary Sutherland (1990), Lisa Broughten (1998) and Erica Hanson (2000).
Palen and doubles partner Tara Houlihan (Sr., Sioux Falls, S.D.) picked up their second consecutive NCAA doubles crown May 22 with a 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 victory over DePauw’s Liz Bondi and Amrita Padda in the doubles championship match at the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships in Santa Cruz, California. The victory avenged an 8-6 loss to Bondi and Padda during the Midwest Invitational Dual Tournament earlier this season. It had been the only blemish on the Gustie tandem’s 26-1 record.
By advancing to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA doubles draw with a three-set win over Sewanee’s Gabriela Carvalho and Mary Katherine Stone, Palen assured herself of becoming the first Gustavus women’s tennis player to attain ITA All-America status four times. The last Gustie men’s tennis player to earn All-America status four times was Todd Bowlby from 1996-98.
A four-time All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) selection, Palen was a member of four MIAC championship teams as well as four teams that reached the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Tennis Championships. Palen accumulated a 70-16 record in singles (28-0 in MIAC play) and an 89-20 record in doubles play (32-1 in MIAC play) in four years at Gustavus.
This is the third ITA award for Palen, who was also tabbed as the ITA Central Region for NCAA Division III Rookie of the Year in 2003 and was the regional winner of this year’s Ashe Award. Palen was also honored with the MIAC’s version of the award, the Chris Evert Award, at the 2006 MIAC Women’s Tennis Championships.
Palen, a 2002 graduate of Rochester Lourdes High School, is the daughter of Stephen and Kathryn Palen of Rochester.