For the third straight year, the Lewis-Clark State College tennis program has produced one of the NAIA national winners for the Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
LCSC coach Kai Fong learned Monday that Oliver Stone Sindayigaya, a junior from Bujumbura, Burundi, has been named the NAIA men’s winner of the prestigious award., which recognizes one outstanding male and female player from each level of competition for exhibiting outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
The announcement came during the NAIA national tournament banquet in Mobile, Ala.
In 2008, LCSC women’s player Shefat Baishakhi earned the NAIA women’s national award and last year Jonathan Berhane won the men's award.
Sindayigaya is a Computer Science major at LCSC and is in his third year of the program. He was on the 14-and-under and 16-and-under Burundian National teams and was ninth in the East African 14-and-under tennis tournament. He also qualified for the Burundian Tennis National Team.
Sindayigaya attended the Academie de tennis Nouvel Courtois where he graduated in 2006. At the International School of Burunidi he earned five varsity letters in soccer and also was on the swim team where he specialize in freestyle and the breaststroke. His team won the private high school soccer championship and he won the private high school breaststroke and was third in the freestyle.
Sindayigaya will be honored during a special ceremony in New York in August during the U.S. Open tennis tournament. The United States Tennis Association will honor him during Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day inside Ashe Stadium. Only five male and female players are honored each year, one each from NCAA Divisions I, II and III, along with NAIA and junior college levels.
Overall, LCSC has had six national Arthur Ashe Award winners, joining Berhane and Baishakhi are Pei Yuin Keng (2004), Vinicius Vieira (2002), and Dermot O'Grady (2001).
LCSC had other players honored during the annual national tournament banquet on Monday night. The Warriors have four women - Marina Wold, Barb Sneckner, Elaine Lee, and Chelsea Gay - join Sindayigaya as Datronics/NAIA Scholar-Athlete Award winners. Lee and Gay are two-time winners of the award. To be eligible, a player must have accumulated at least 72 credits with a 3.50 GPA and have one full year of residency at the current college.
Lee is majoring in Mathematics, Gay in English, Wold in Interdisciplinary Studies, and Sneckner in Kinesiology. All are juniors in academic standing.
LCSC's Character of Champions Awards went to Sindayigaya and Gay. One player from each team at the national tournament is selected for that award.
The Warriors open NAIA national tournament play on Tuesday in Mobile, Ala. The Warrior men, making their 11th straight appearance, take on St. Thomas of Florida at 10 a.m., PST, and the winner will face No. 2 seed Auburn Montgomery on Wednesday. Auburn Montgomery has won the national title eight times, more than other other school.
The Warrior women also open Tuesday in Mobile, Ala., taking on host Mobile at 6 a.m., PST. The winner faces No. 2 seed Fresno Pacific on Wednesday.