WTENNIS: Mell Reasco Tabbed ITA Southeast Region Rookie of the Year
Freshman Mell Reasco was tabbed the 2022 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Southeast Region Rookie of the Year, while the University of Georgia women’s tennis team took home the ITA Southeast Region Community Service Award, the ITA announced Monday.
Reasco, a native of Quito, Ecuador, capped off an impressive freshman campaign with a team-best 27-9 record in singles play. She recorded 11 wins against ranked opponents, including eight top-50 wins at the No. 1 and No. 2 spot. The freshman also recorded a team-best 23-12 mark in doubles, including four wins versus ranked opponents. Reasco was tabbed a top-16 seed in the NCAA Singles Tournament, earning All-America honors, and was named First Team All-SEC, SEC All-Freshman Team, as well as SEC All-Tournament team. The Southeast Region Champ concluded the season ranked No. 21 by the ITA.
The Bulldogs took home the ITA Community Service Award for a second consecutive season. This season Graduate Meg Kowalski has led the Georgia men’s and women’s tennis team’s joint effort in “Serving for a Cause”. The goal of Serving for a Cause was to generate money to send local children at the Boys and Girls Club of Athens to summer camp. The Boys and Girls Club summer camp offers families in Athens the opportunity to send their children to the Boys and Girls Club while the school-year program is not in session.
In previous years, Georgia has hosted the First Serve, an hour-long tennis clinic to introduce the community to the game of tennis, Special Pops, a special needs tennis clinic, teaching tennis to those who attend the clinic, Food2Kids Snack Drive benefiting the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, distributed groceries to underprivileged Athens residents in a mobile pantry car drive, and “Giving Challenge” which encouraged Georgia students to donate toiletries for unhoused populations via Bigger Visions Community Shelter. In addition, the Georgia women’s tennis team routinely collects and distributes old tennis balls from practice and matches to the local animal shelters and clinics in the Athens area.
Every year the ITA recognizes coaches and players for their excellence on the court and in their communities throughout the season. The Division I Playing Awards include: Wilson ITA Coach of the Year, ITA Assistant Coach of the Year, Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship, ITA Rookie of the Year, ITA Most Improved Senior, ITA Senior Player of the Year, ITA Community Service Award, and ITA Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award. There are 12 ITA regions across the United States.
Georgia’s regional winners are now under consideration for the national awards which will be announced by the ITA on Monday, June 13.
GYM: Ryan Roberts Joins GymDogs as an Assistant Coach
Georgia gymnastics head coach Courtney Kupets Carter has announced the addition of Ryan Roberts as an assistant coach for the GymDogs.
Roberts joins the GymDogs after four seasons at Alabama. He earned WCGA Region 1 Assistant Coach of the Year honors in 2020 and 2021.
“I’m thrilled to be adding Ryan to our coaching staff,” Kupets Carter said. “His vast experience and proven coaching philosophy aligns with where we want to take the program. We are excited to come together as a cohesive unit to continue the legacy of Georgia gymnastics.”
“Ryan is well respected in all aspects of the gymnastics community,” Kupets Carter continued. “He is going to be a tremendous asset in recruiting as he takes on our recruiting coordinator duties as well.”
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Georgia gymnastics,” Roberts said. “The vision of the program is one that I identify with and am excited to contribute to. Courtney, Jason, and the entire support staff all share a common desire to be a program that values each student-athlete, sets high expectations in and out of the gym, and strives to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential. The passion for Georgia Gymnastics was evident the moment I came on campus and I felt at home here. I look forward to the holistic development of our team and winning championships.”
As assistant coach at Alabama, Roberts helped the team continue its streak of top-12 national finishes. In 2022, the Crimson Tide finished seventh nationally and second at the SEC Championship. The team posted a trio of 198 team scores during the season, including a 197.175 at the NCAA Seattle Regional Championship, the highest postseason score in program history and second best overall. In 2021, he coached Luisa Blanco to be named SEC Gymnast of the Year and become a finalist for the Honda Award. Two Crimson Tide gymnasts won individual national champion titles.
Roberts has been a member of the USA Gymnastics National Staff since 2018. He has coached the uneven bars for the National Elite Development Team Camps and has worked numerous developmental camps around the country.
Roberts went to Alabama following five years with the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) in Frisco, Texas. At WOGA, he coached members of the United States, Russian and Ecuadorian national teams. He also coached a trio of USA international Elite gymnasts, three Junior Olympic national champions and numerous gymnasts who earned college scholarships. While at WOGA, he also served as the personal coach to three USA National Team members, one of which earned a bronze medal at the Junior World Championships, as well as a Russian National Team member who won a silver medal at the World Championships and gold at the European Championships.
A former U.S. Junior Olympic National All-Around Champion, a U.S. National Championships all-around bronze medalist and a three-year member of the U.S. Junior National Team, Roberts helped lead the United States to a win in the 1996 USA vs. Canada meet.
A much sought after coach at gymnastics clinics and camps across the nation, Roberts spent six years coaching in Fredrikstad, Norway prior to joining the WOGA staff.
During his time in Norway, Roberts served as the Norwegian National Team head coach for numerous international competitions including European Championships, World Cups, Northern European Championships and Nordic Championships. In fall 2013, he was head coach of the Norwegian Senior and Junior National Team camps, and of developmental camps for Norway’s future national team and international competitors.
Roberts’ coaching career spans 20-plus years, including a number of years at West Coast Elite Gymnastics (Arcadia, Calif.).
A former communications officer and platoon commander in the U.S. Marine Corps, Roberts was deployed to Iraq in 2005 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Roberts competed for two years at the University of New Mexico before finishing his career as a two-time NCAA qualifier at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2003. He also earned a master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in 2010.
SOCCER: Dawgs Add Five Transfers
With 11 combined seasons of Power 5 experience, the University of Georgia soccer team bolstered its 2022 roster with the addition of five transfer student-athletes, as announced by head coach Keidane McAlpine Monday afternoon.
“We are thrilled to welcome these five talented student-athletes to Athens and the University of Georgia,” said McAlpine. “Each of these five players will immediately make a positive impact on us, both on the field and in the community. We are excited to continue building our program and these additions are another great step in that process.”
Ruby Hellstrom – Forward, San Diego, Calif. (Washington)
Ruby Hellstrom joins Georgia following four seasons at Washington, where she was one of the Huskies’ top offensive threats. Hellstrom appeared in 58 games for the Huskies, making 37 starts, including all 18 for the fall 2021 season. In her four years, she tallied eight goals and 18 points, along with 36 shots in each of the past two seasons. The San Diego native scored all three of her goals last season in conference play, tying the career high she set in the spring 2021 campaign.
Alyssa Stadeker – Defender, Smyrna, Ga. (Florida State)
Alyssa Stadeker joins Georgia after playing her freshman season at Florida State, appearing in five games for the eventual national champions. Prior to joining the Seminoles, Stadeker won a pair of state regional championships at Woodward Academy and was named to the Georgia All-Star High School Soccer Team In 2019. The Smyrna native attended three U-15 National Team camps and was placed in the player pool for the 2021 U-19 Women’s National Team.
Dasia Torbert – Midfielder, Buford, Ga. (UCLA)
Dasia Torbert joins Georgia following two seasons at UCLA, where she appeared in 21 games and started in nine. Torbert scored her first collegiate goal last season against Arizona State, tying a game the Bruins once trailed by two, while also tallying assists in two other contests. The Buford native participated in U.S. Youth National Team training camps at four different levels and started two games for U-18 team in the 2020 Tricontential Cup. Torbert was rated as the No. 12 recruit nationally in 2020 by IMG after scoring 22 goals in her senior season at Mountain View High School. She is the daughter of two former Georgia student-athletes: her mother, Ali Comis, was a four-year letterwinner who was a member of the program’s inaugural 1995 freshman class, while her father, Regan Torbert, earned a football letter in 2000.
Nicole Vernis – Midfielder, North Palm Beach, Fla. (Florida)
Nicole Vernis joins Georgia following three seasons at Florida, where she appeared in 36 games and started in 31. Last season, Vernis tallied her lone goal of the season with a game-tying score against the Bulldogs, while also racking up two assists in over 1,300 minutes of play. In her first season, she scored twice in conference play against South Carolina and Missouri. Prior to joining the Gators, she was named the 2019 Palm Beach Class 3A Player of the Year, earning a spot on the All-Palm Beach Team in all four high school seasons.
Due to SEC transfer regulations, Vernis will sit out the 2022 season and begin playing in 2023.
Joyelle Washington – Forward, Canton, Mich. (Wisconsin)
Joyelle Washington joins Georgia after playing her freshman season at Wisconsin, appearing in 19 games for the Badgers. Washington scored two goals for Wisconsin, including one in her collegiate debut against Eastern Illinois and one in the NCAA Second Round game against UC Irvine. For the season, the Canton, Michigan native tallied eight shots, including four on goal, and played over 45 minutes in two of the Badgers’ NCAA Tournament games. Prior to joining Wisconsin, she ranked in the IMG Academy Top 150 and had a four-star rating from Top Drawer Soccer. In 2017, she also scored two goals for the U-16 National Team in a match against Croatia.
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