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Tuesday May 22, 2007UF's Jesse Levine Named ITA National Rookie of the Year

Athens, Ga.

University of Florida men's tennis freshman Jesse Levine has been named the National Rookie of the Year by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) as announced Tuesday in Athens, Ga., during a ceremony at the University of Georgia's Rankin M. Smith Student-Athlete Center.


Levine is the second ITA National Rookie of the Year the Gators have had under sixth-year head coach Andy Jackson who has produced both of Florida's two recipients of the award. In 2003, Janne Holmia earned the honor.


This season, Levine has turned in one of the top rookie campaigns in recent memory. At No. 3 in the Fila singles and doubles rankings, he has rolled off a 21-match winning streak in singles to open his collegiate career. On Wednesday, he and junior Greg Ouellette will represent the Gators in the NCAA singles draw. The two will combine their efforts in the NCAA doubles draw, which begins Thursday in Athens. Levine is the first player since Fresno Stateís Peter Luczak in 2001 to be undefeated entering the singles competition. That year, Luczak was 27-0 before losing in the first round. Levine's 21-0 record on the No. 1 singles court this year includes an 11-0 mark against Southeastern Conference opponents and a 16-0 record against ranked opponents. Nineteen of Levine's 21 wins have come in straight sets. In doubles play, he and Ouellette are 18-2 on the top court and 8-1 against ranked foes.


As the governing body of collegiate tennis, the ITA promotes both the athletic and academic achievements of the collegiate tennis community. The ITA, which was founded in 1956 and is based in Skillman, N.J., administers numerous regional and national championships, the ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit presented by the USTA, and the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings for Men's and Women's tennis at the NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and Junior College levels. The ITA also has a comprehensive awards program for players and coaches to honor excellence in academics, leadership and sportsmanship.



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