Rigby Receives ITA's Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Northeast Region

MEDFORD - Tilly Rigby, a rising senior on the Tufts University women's tennis team, was recently annouced as the Northeast Region recipient of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's (ITA) Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship award for the 2021-22 season.

The award recognizes outstanding student-athletes in all five divisions (NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and JUCO) at the regional and national level. This prestigious award, which dates back to 1982, is presented to the men's and women's student-athletes who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership, as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. The national honorees will be announced next week.

"Tilly has already made a lasting impression on the program as an athlete, a leader, sportswoman, team player, and as a person," Tufts head coach Kate Bayard said. "She is a role model to her teammates through her work ethic and desire to make herself and the team better each day. She leads in a way that brings others along in the most positive ways possible. Tilly is supportive of teammates while also holding them accountable to the highest standards. She inspires those around her to become the best version of themselves.

"Tilly has always represented the team with the highest level of sportsmanship during practices and matches, complimenting and encouraging both teammates and opponents," Coach  Bayard continued. "She has gained immediate respect from teammates, coaches, and opponents throughout her career. I am proud of her for how she operates each day."

On the court, Ribgy paired with freshman Elle Christensen to win the NCAA Doubles championship this spring. They also won the ITA Regional doubles title together in the fall. She recently achieved All-American status for the second straight year.

A back injury prevented Rigby from being able to consistently perform at her high level in singles throughout the season. However, she valiantly tried to play in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) semifinals against Middlebury College on May 8, but had to retire in the second set. Despite the personal ups and downs, she remained remarkably steady with her leadership abilities.

"Tilly defines what it is to be a team player," Bayard said. "She is a great listener and has a true desire to understand where each person is coming from. She is open-minded and a great collaborator."

In class, Rigby has thrived as a computer science and psychology double major who is a two-time recipient of NESCAC's All-Academic Team honor for carrying a grade point average of 3.50 or better.

Her volunteerism includes tutoring local students in the Medford/Somerville communities surrounding Tufts through the Leonard Carmichael Society at the University. She is also actively involved with JumboSwipes, a student-run, non-profit organzation which coordinates Jumbo students donating their meal plan swipes to fight food insecurity in Medford/Somerville. The food purchased by the meal swipe gets donated to food shelters and food banks.

Tufts University players have won the Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership & Sportsmanship award multiple times during Coach Bayard's tenure. Samantha Gann was the Northeast recipient in 2013, and Julia Browne was the regional and national honoree in 2010.

2022 ITA Division III Regional Awards