Virginia’s Jarmere Jenkins, the linchpin of the first ACC team to win the NCAA men’s tennis championship, was named the conference’s male athlete of the year Tuesday.
Jenkins not only earned MVP honors in the NCAA team tournament but also finished second in singles and paired with Mac Styslinger to win the doubles title. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association voted him national player of the year.
Daily Press tennis sage Sonny Dearth, who played collegiately at James Madison, called it the best NCAA tournament by an individual since the Bryan brothers led Stanford to championships in 1997 and '98.
A senior from College Park, Ga., Jenkins is the fifth Cavalier to win the McKevlin Award as the ACC’s top male athlete. The others: football’s Frank Quayle in 1969, basketball’s Barry Parkhill in 1972, basketball’s Ralph Sampson in 1983 and lacrosse’s Chris Rotelli in 2003.
“Receiving the McKevlin Award is a little overwhelming at first when you look at the list of previous winners,” Jenkins said in a statement. “To join a group that includes so many great names, especially the ones that went on to become stars in the NFL and NBA, is a tremendous honor.”
That list includes Michael Jordan, Tim Duncan, David Thompson, Roman Gabriel and Brian Piccolo. Jenkins is the first tennis-only athlete to win the McKevlin — Maryland’s John Lucas received the award in 1976, when he was a tennis All-American and the No. 1 pick of the NBA draft.
“It is a remarkable accomplishment for Jarmere,” Virginia coach Brian Boland said in a news release. “I am happy for him and he is extremely deserving of the award. It is a reflection of not only the hard work he put into his career at the University of Virginia, but it is truly a testament to the hard work of everyone in this program.
“I believe it is also a tremendous honor for the sport of tennis. The ACC is unbelievably strong in numerous sports, so for a tennis player to win this award is something our sport as a whole can take pride in.”
Playing in the NCAA final for the third consecutive season, Virginia defeated top-seeded UCLA to win its first national championship this spring. Jenkins contributed to half those points, winning his singles match and teaming with Styslinger to claim the doubles point.
For the season, Jenkins was 42-6 in singles, 29-7 in doubles.
North Carolina’s Crystal Dunn, the national women’s soccer player of the year, won the Garber Award as the ACC’s top female athlete. She led the Tar Heels to their 21st NCAA championship.
Members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association vote on the McKevlin and Garber. For what it’s worth, I voted for Jenkins and Clemson’s Brianna Rollins, who won the 100-meter hurdles at the NCAA and USA Track championships. At the latter meet, her first as a professional,Rollins broke Gail Devers’ 13-year-old American record with a time of 12.26.
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