SKILLMAN, N.J. --- The Tusculum men's tennis program is one of 51 colleges and universities in NCAA Division II to be recognized to the 2016-2017 Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team. The Pioneers also had eight players earn ITA Scholar Athlete distinction including: Toby de Klerk, Tashique Kader, Tomas Kmetko, Steven Knowles, Eduardo Muñoz, Fabian Paier, Leon Seiz and David Siegle.
The ITA All-Academic Team Award is presented to any ITA program that has above a 3.2 cumulative grade point average for the academic year. ITA Scholar Athletes are student-athletes who are a varsity letter-winner, have a GPA of 3.5 or higher for the current academic year and have been enrolled at their present school for at least two semesters.
The Pioneers boasted an impressive 3.648 team GPA for this academic year and their 3.539 cumulative GPA is the third highest of Tusculum's sponsored sports. Seven South Atlantic Conference men's tennis programs earned ITA All-Academic Team distinction this year including Tusculum, Anderson, Brevard, Carson-Newman, Coker, Lenoir-Rhyne and Newberry. This marks the 11th straight year Tusculum has earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award.
The TC women's tennis team also earned ITA All-Academic Team honors, making Tusculum one of only 47 DII colleges and universities to earn this award for both the men and women's programs.
David Siegle, a native of Ditzingen, Germany, graduated from Tusculum this past May while majoring in information technology, He finished with a 3.72 cumulative GPA and posted a 3.79 average in 2016-2017. He is making his fourth appearance as an ITA Scholar Athlete. He is a member of the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the Dean's List. He was also the recipient of the Elva Shipley Meyer '28 Endowed Scholarship.
During his Tusculum career, Siegle accounted for a 28-24 singles worksheet, while going 41-29 in doubles action. He and doubles partner Yago Fernandez went 6-0 in league play and 7-4 overall to earn All-SAC honorable mention.
Rising senior Tashique Kader earns ITA Scholar Athlete honors for a third straight year. The Obertshausen, Germany native has a 3.85 cumulative GPA (3.94 this academic year), is majoring in business administration and is a member of the Dean's List, Athletic Director's Honor Roll, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Charles Oliver Gray Honors List and President's List
Kader went 8-11 in singles competition this past year playing at the top two flights to move his career mark to 39-21. He earned All-SAC accolades with doubles partner Leon Seiz in his first two seasons with the Pioneers.
Seiz, a product of Ludwigsburg, Germany, received ITA Scholar Athlete standing for a third time in his career. He graduated from Tusculum in May with a 3.56 cumulative GPA, including 3.66 this past academic year. He is a member of the Dean's List, Charles Oliver Gray Honors List, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll and Athletic Director's Honor Roll. Seiz finished his TC career with a 47-25 record in singles.
Toby de Klerk, a rising senior from Bergen op Zoom, The Netherlands, has a 3.64 cumulative GPA and is majoring in business administration at Tusculum including 3.76 this past season. He is named an ITA Scholar Athlete for a second straight year. He is a member of the Dean's List, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll. In his third Tusculum campaign, de Klerk went 8-6 at No. 1 doubles with Tomas Kmetko, including 5-2 in league play. He also went 6-8 in singles to move his career record to 27-16 overall.
Muñoz, a rising junior from Burgos, Spain, finished his second Tusculum season with a 3.56 cumulative GPA (3.78 in 2016-17) and is a member of the SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Athletic Director's Honor Roll and the Dean's List. He went 11-8 in singles competition, including a stellar 7-2 in SAC matches.
Paier, a rising junior from Feldbach, Austria, has a perfect 4.00 cumulative GPA and was the co-recipient of the Tusculum Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Award and was the inaugural winner of the SAC Elite 18 Award for Men's Tennis. He earned a spot on the President's List, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll, Dean's List and Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll. On the court, he posted a 4-2 record in singles to improve his career mark to 8-2 with the Pioneers.
Kmetko, a rising senior from Bratislava, Slovakia, has a perfect 4.00 GPA in his first two semesters at Tusculum majoring in economics, while earning a spot on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll. He earned All-SAC second team honors in singles as he compiled a 10-5 record at the No. 1 flight for the Pioneers. He was 5-3 in conference matches, earning two of his five wins in three sets. Three of his five losses were to regionally-ranked teams, while earning a tiebreaker win in a match against nationally-ranked Palm Beach Atlantic.
Knowles, a rising sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is majoring business and accounted for a 3.58 grade point average in his first year in Greeneville. He is a member of the Dean's List, SAC Commissioner's Honor Roll and the Tusculum Athletic Director's Honor Roll. He won in straight sets against UVa-Wise in his lone singles action of the season.
The Pioneers finished with a 12-11 overall record for the program's sixth consecutive winning season.