WHITE PLAINS, NY– The United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced Thursday that Princeton-bound Stephanie Schrage of Millburn, NJ was named one of the two recipients of the 2017 USTA National Junior Scholar Athlete Award. The award honors high school tennis players who best demonstrate that tennis is the sport of opportunity for education, advancement and character development. Austen Huang of Elk Grove, CA is the other recipient. The two will be honored in September at the USTA SemiAnnual meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.
“Austen’s and Stephanie’s achievements on the court, in the classroom and in the community truly make them exemplary leaders among their peers,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive,
Community Tennis, USTA. “They are both very deserving of this honor and have bright futures ahead of them at Ivy League schools.”
This is the sixth year the USTA has awarded its National Junior Scholar-Athlete Award. To qualify, students must have an unweighted GPA of 3.75 on a 4.0 scale and be ranked in the Top 100 of the
USTA Boys’ or Girls’ 18s national standings. A written essay, as well as leadership and sportsmanship, were also considered.
Schrage, set to graduate from Millburn High School in December, is currently No. 27 in the USTA Girls’ 18s national standings and has been ranked as the No. 1 girl in the USTA Eastern section. Schrage won the New Jersey state high school girls’ singles title in 2015 and helped lead Milburn to four straight state team titles. She has a 3.75 unweighted GPA, with five AP courses, and is an active volunteer at Dress for Success, helping low-income clients, as well as an action research participant to help create more job opportunities for low-income workers. Additionally, she won the sportsmanship award at the USTA Girls’ 16s National Championships.
An excerpt of Schrage's essay gives insight into her mindset regarding tennis and how it has influenced her on and off the court. The prompt was, in 500 words or less, please explain how have you used the lessons you have learned on the tennis court in the
classroom and in your life?
"Within the course of a day, I sometimes feel like two different people. At school, I focus all of my mental energy on learning, taking notes, and test taking. If I am taking a test on a Friday before my first-round match, zoning in on the task at hand enables me to get the best grade I can. At tennis, I can escape the difficult demands of school. If I get a bad grade on a test, I forget about it for two hours so I can put all my focus into training. Being able to separate school and tennis has been beneficial, but so has been applying the lessons I have learned in both areas to each other. From tennis, I have learned how to carry myself, deal with pressure, adjust in difficult situations and work tirelessly toward my goals. All of these qualities have influenced my outlook on how to be a good student, member of a school, and member of a community."
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 715,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest-attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the US Open Series, linking seven summer WTA and ATP World Tour tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns approximately 90 Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S. and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games.