posted June 13, 2009

Tennis Player John Pelton Honored for Sportsmanship

John Pelton's approach to playing the game of tennis has received recognition beyond the victories he has amassed during his collegiate career.

The recent Hope College graduate has been named the recipient of the Division III Arthur Ashe, Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award for the Central Region.

Headed to the NCAA Division III championships next week for the second consecutive year, Pelton earlier was voted the most valuable player in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and recipient of the MIAA's Stowe Sportsmanship Award.

The Ashe award is given to a player that has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, humanitarian and tennis achievements during their career.  Pelton is now one of four Division III players being considered for the national Arthur Ashe award. The program is administered by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.

"John represents everything that is good about DIII collegiate tennis - fierce competition, great sportsmanship, balanced priorities, and strong interpersonal relationships," said coach Steve Gorno.  "We have been priveleged to have him as a player and we are happy that others are recognizing him for the manner in which he handled himself every day, every practice, and every match since he stepped on campus at Hope."

Pelton, a resident Rock Hill, S.C. who graduated from Midland, Mich. High School is one of 32 players invited to compete in the tournament to be held May 22-24 in Claremont, Calif.

He was chosen the MIAA's most valuable player as both a junior and senior. This season he compiled a 20-1 record and heads to nationals with a 42-4 career mark.

It is the second sportsmanship award to come the way of the Hope men's tennis team from thje Intercollegiate Tennis Association. In April the Flying Dutchmen were presented the ITA's  National Team Sportsmanship Award for outstanding sportsmanship, character and ethical conduct in the true spirit of competition and collegiate tennis.

Players on the Hope men's tennis team have received the MIAA's Stowe Sportsmanship Award 11 of the last 14 years.