Farris Gosea Named Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Year
April 24, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Illini men's tennis players Farris Gosea, Jared Hiltzik and Tim Kopinski were named First-Team All-Big Ten selections Thursday night at the Big Ten Tournament Banquet, marking the the first time since 2009 that the Orange and Blue produced three honorees. More impressively, Gosea was awarded Big Ten Athlete of the Year, marking the sixth time an Illinois player claimed the prestigious award and the first since Kevin Anderson in 2007.
"Accolades and overnight success stories are usually a lot of days stacked on top of one another. Farris made changes to how he lives last summer. This honor is not only a result of those efforts but a model for our current team and future Fighting Illini," stated Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "My favorite quote of all time could not be more applicable: I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor."
Gosea was one of four unanimous First-Team selections as the junior went undefeated in conference play with a 10-0 mark. The Cardiff, Whales native won nine of his 10 matches against top-50 ranked singles competitors, including No. 7 Peter Kobelt of Ohio State. Ranked 17th in the country in the latest ITA poll, Gosea has already accomplished his first career 20-win dual season (20-3).
No. 8 Hiltzik picked up his second straight First-Team honors. After missing a month's worth of competition due to injury, the sophomore still went on to record a 6-2 mark in the Big Ten, adding to his 13-5 dual match record. Hiltzik ended the regular season on a seven match winning streak.
56th ranked Tim Kopinski also garnered his second straight all-conference honors but his first First-Team designation. Kopinski only suffered one loss in conference play, posting an 8-1 record. The junior collected the second most victories on the team with 19 and is 9-1 in his previous 10 matches. In doubles, Kopinski and Ross Guignon are ranked fifth in the country with a 15-4 record and 8-1 mark in the Big Ten. Kopinski was also the team's Sportsmanship Award honoree.
In 14 of the Illini's 20 victories this season, Gosea, Kopinski and Hiltzik collectively won their singles matches in the top-three positions. The trio guided the Orange and Blue to the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will play tomorrow at 1 p.m. CT vs. Indiana.