Mallory Davis, sophomore tennis player for Meridian Community College garnered national recognition when she was selected the National Women’s JUCO winner of the Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship and Leadership Award at the NJCAA National Tennis Tournament banquet held in the Student Center at Tyler Junior College previous to tournament play. The purpose of the Arthur Ashe Collegiate Award is to honor Arthur Ashe and the vision that he embodied of the importance of education, sportsmanship, and leadership. Tennis opened the door of higher education for Arthur. Tennis and college offered him a springboard into a life of vast achievement; first as a world-class athlete, then as an educator and international humanitarian. Mallory, from Lafayette High School, played two years at Meridian. Her freshman year she played number two singles and number two doubles. As a sophomore, Mallory moved up to play number one singles and number one doubles. She was All-Region XXIII at number two doubles her freshman year and has been ranked in the top 40 singles players in the nation and in the top 30 doubles teams by the ITA rankings. She was a huge part of the number eight ranked team in the nation her freshman year and this year’s finish of fifteenth. Mallory demonstrates leadership both on and off the court; she served as co-captain of the team her sophomore year.
As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of varsity collegiate tennis players. The ITA, which is comprised of nearly 1,700 men's and women's varsity coaches and 20,000 student-athletes from over 1,200 institutions, has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership, sportsmanship and athletic performance. Awards are given to both men and women, on the Regional and National levels to all Divisions represented within the ITA (NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA, and Community and Junior Colleges). The ITA annually recognizes over 3,000 student-athletes on an individual and team basis from over 500 different varsity tennis programs. More than 300 coaches participate in the award selection process, serving on Regional and/or National selection committees.
A player who receives this award has been nominated by his or her coach. A Regional Committee then votes on a region winner. The region winners are placed on a national ballot and each coach on the national committee votes on the recipients. The nominee must demonstrate sportsmanship, leadership, and character as well as success on the tennis court and in the classroom.
Mallory has demonstrated academic excellence as a student at MCC; she was named the Female Scholar Athlete this spring and was awarded the Maude Smith English Award. She was selected to Who’s Who Among America’s Universities and Colleges. Mallory was an honor graduate with a 3.87 GPA as a speech therapy major and was inducted into MCC’s Circle of Excellence at graduation. Mallory has also been involved in community service while a student at Meridian.
She volunteered for Love’s Kitchen, a local food bank; the Salvation Army as a bell ringer at Christmas; Special Olympics; Samaritan’s Purse, Street Strut for Breast Cancer, and other organizations. In her nomination letter, MCC coach Wanda McPhail said of Mallory, “She is kind, compassionate, loyal, hard-working, cooperative, and enthusiastic and exhibits high moral values.”
Mallory joins six other Meridian College tennis player in this elite group of national winners. Previous winners from Meridian Community College are, Tara-Beth Hall (2013), Simon Bardell (2012), Andres Cepede (2010), Elliott Clark and Kelly Sterling (2009), and Blake Sherman(2008).