XU’s Kyle Montrel receives ITA award for leadership, sportsmanship‏

For the second consecutive year, Kyle Montrel is a Wilson/Intercollegiate Tennis Association NAIA award winner.

The Xavier University of Louisiana junior received the Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship and Award for the South Region during a Monday banquet honoring the teams which qualified for this week’s NAIA National Championships.

Montrel is from Atlanta and a graduate of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. He plays No. 1 singles and doubles for Xavier, which is seeded sixth and has a first-round bye in the tournament. A left-hander, Montrel is ranked ninth in the NAIA in singles and 13th in doubles with Nikita Soifer.

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The selection process required a letter from Montrel and an endorsement letter from his coach, Alan Green.

“Kyle has grown tremendously as a person, a student and a tennis player since his first day at Xavier,” Green said. “He has been our hardest worker on and off the court. The members of our Xavier program have volunteered time teaching tennis to under-served youths in New Orleans, and Kyle has been a major participant in those outings.”

Said Montrel, “I am surprised to win this award because there were so many other people that deserved it. But I am very happy to be recognized.”

The Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship national winner was Missouri Valley College’s Wesley Ng from the Central Region. The other region winners were Thommy Johansson of Northwestern Ohio in the East and Christian Wickenhauser of Concordia (Calif.) in the West.

Montrel is the second Gold Rush player to win the Ashe award in the South. Terry Richardson was honored in 2009.

A year ago, Montrel was chosen ITA NAIA South Region Player to Watch.

Xavier’s Champions of Character recipients were Nour Abbes of the Gold Nuggets and Montrel.

The first dual matches for the Gold Rush and Gold Nuggets at nationals will be Wednesday in the round of 16. The men will play Coastal Georgia or Asbury at 9 a.m., and women will play Oklahoma Baptist or SCAD Atlanta at 1 p.m. The tournament will begin Tuesday at Copeland-Cox Mobile Tennis Center.

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