Apr. 14, 2021
In the nearly 60 years of women's tennis at Biola the Eagles have had just 10 All-American student-athletes, including just one in the time since the university transitioned into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Thanks to a fantastic season from Kathryn Ashford those numbers can move up by one.
Ashford earned the Eagles' first women's tennis All-American honors since the 2004 season by getting an NAIA All-American second team nod on Monday.
"I am thrilled that she had such a wonderful season. Kat is one of those who make coaching such a joy," said Head Coach Dee Henry. "She is always more focused on making the right choice of shots, and that makes a big difference."
She solidified herself as one of the top 32 players in the NAIA with the All-American award and placed herself in the company of a bunch of players from some of the top tennis schools in the nation, including: Georgia Gwinnett, Auburn Montgomery, Embry-Riddle (Fla.).
Ashford earned this honor by being a top player consistently in singles and doubles play for the Eagles. She played No. 1 all season long and battled tough opponents and physical obstacles en route to a 11-8 singles record. She stood out in conference play with a 5-4 record against the other top players in a conference with three ranked teams.
She and Susan Carmichael became an unstoppable duo at the No.2 doubles spot as they obliterated the rest of the league en route to a 12-4 record versus other No. 2 teams. They also saw some time together at No. 1 doubles.
For two consecutive seasons Ashford was named to the All-GSAC team, but this All-American nod is the first of her career. She should earn more national recognition as she progressed through her junior and senior seasons, as Henry notes her consistent improvement.
"Her work ethic is evident as she practices," said Henry "She is growing more comfortable at the net and that has added a whole new dimension to her game."
Thirty-two players were named NAIA All-American on either the first or second team, and another 31 were named honorable mentions. Westmont, Vanguard and Biola were the only Golden State Athletic Conference schools with representatives on either the first or second team.
For the full list of women's tennis All-Americans, click here.
Assistant Director of Media Relations and Strategic Communication
Senior Director of University Communications
media [dot] relations [at] biola [dot] edu