St. Paul – Gustavus Adolphus head coach Tommy Valentini and senior Bryan Miles (Wausau, Wis.) highlighted the 2014 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Men’s Tennis Awards released Thursday afternoon by the conference office. Valentini was named the MIAC Steve Wilkinson Men’s Tennis Coach-of-the-Year, while Miles received the Arthur Ashe Award, which annually recognizes a senior tennis student-athlete with outstanding sportsmanship and exemplary athletic, academic and humanitarian accomplishments.
To go along with the two headline honors, three Gustavus players were recognized on the All-Conference Singles and Doubles Teams. Junior Motasem Al-Houni (Tripoli, Libya) was the lone Gustie honored in singles, while senior Marcel Gyswyt (Golden Valley, Minn.) and freshman Andres Saenz Hoyo (Cancun, Mexico) were honored in doubles.
Since taking over the program at the start of the 2009-10 school year, Tommy Valentini has been recognized by his peers as the MIAC Coach-of-the-Year twice, also receiving the accolade in 2013. Valentini guided the Gusties to a 26th straight MIAC Championship and fourth consecutive MIAC Playoff title. Gustavus went a perfect 9-0 and league play, improving the fifth-year head coach’s conference record to 45-0 during his tenure.
Valentini’s Gusties reached the 20-win mark for the third straight season and will now enter the 2014 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament with a career-best record of 28-5. The Black and Gold will face UW-Whitewater in the second round of the tournament on Saturday, May 10 at 11:00 a.m. at the Brown Outdoor Tennis Complex.
The embodiment of an NCAA Division III student-athlete, Bryan Miles is the first Gustie to receive the Arthur Ashe award since Andy Bryan was bestowed the honor in his senior season of 2008. On the court, Miles went 9-3 overall and 4-0 in the MIAC in singles, and 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the MIAC in doubles. He played at every singles position except for No. 3, and partnered up with Logan Peterson and Matt Bettes in his three doubles wins against league opponents. In the classroom, Bryan is a chemistry major who holds a cumulative grade point average of 3.8.
“I am thankful and thrilled that Bryan has been selected as the MIAC Arthur Ashe Award winner. He is a most deserving recipient of this prestigious honor.” said Tommy Valentini. “He is an outstanding student and a great servant-leader on our team, campus, and in the community. Bryan is an excellent competitor and sportsman, and he represents our program and college tennis in a first-class fashion on and off the court. He has been a model of balance, excellence, service, leadership, and growth during his time at Gustavus.”
After earning All-Conference honors in doubles as a sophomore, Motasem Al-Houni takes home All-MIAC marks for his play in singles as a junior. Al-Houni went 5-0 in the MIAC in singles, earning all five of those victories in straight-set fashion. He is currently 20-5 overall in singles with 14 wins coming at the fifth (8-2) and sixth (6-2) spots of the lineup.
The veteran-rookie combination of Marcel Gyswyt and Andres Saenz Hoyo garners All-Conference doubles honors together for the first time. Gyswyt was named All-MIAC in singles last season, while Hoyo has turned into a staple partner of Gyswyt’s at the No. 3 sport in his first season donning the three crowns. The tandem went 6-0 against MIAC opponents and will head into the NCAA Championships with an overall record of 22-7.
The All-Conference team is selected based on performance during conference dual matches, with the top 18 players (including ties) recognized for both singles and doubles. A player must play in five conferences matches at any position to be eligible for the honor.
As part of a conference-wide sportsmanship initiative, the MIAC also announced the eighth annual All-MIAC Sportsmanship Team for men’s tennis. Members of the All-MIAC Sportsmanship team are selected by their coaches and teammates as individuals who demonstrate ideals of positive sportsmanship both on and off the field of competition. Representing Gustavus on this year’s All-Sportsmanship Team was senior Juan Luis Chu (Lima, Peru).