April 11, 2012

Leavitt and Henninger Garner Scholar-Athlete Honors

Track and field and tennis standouts kick off spring quarter with esteemed award

Junior Whitney Leavitt of the Eastern Washington University track and field team, and senior Chad Henninger from men’s tennis have been selected as April’s Scholar-Athletes of the Month.

This award, presented by the EWU Athletic Department, recognizes the athletic and academic success of student-athletes, based primarily on performances turned in during the month prior.

Leavitt, a 2009 graduate of Kiona Benton High School in Benton City, Wash., boasts a 3.69 cumulative grade point average in English. Henninger, a native of Eugene, Ore., has maintained a 3.48 GPA in criminal justice.

Along with their hard work in the classroom, both EWU student-athletes are in the midst of preparing for the pinnacle event of their respective seasons. Leavitt will compete in the 2012 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships May 10-12 in Bozeman, Mont., while Henninger takes to the court for the Big Sky Tennis Championship April 21-22 in Sacramento, Calif.

More on Leavitt

Leavitt has already qualified in two separate events for the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships.

She has met the conference standards in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, with season-best times of 12.22 and 25.09, respectively. She earned both of those marks at the Al Manuel Invitational on March 30 in Missoula, Mont. Leavitt took second in the 100 at that meet, while her 25.09 in the 200 was good for fourth place.

Leavitt currently ranks eighth in the conference in the 200 and 13th overall in the 100.

The sprinter was also part of Eastern’s record-breaking 4x400 relay team at the indoor championships on Feb. 25. Leavitt, along with Nicole Nida, Angelica Rodriguez and Chelsea Lawhead, broke a 12-year-old school record with a time of 3:46.77. Leavitt also qualified for the finals in both the 60 and the 200 during the indoor season.

More on Henninger

With two regular-season matches remaining and at least one in the conference tournament, Henninger has already put together the most successful season in his four-year career at Eastern. The senior boasts a 12-4 overall singles record and 9-4 mark in doubles action.

Henninger, and partner Julian Sanchez, are undefeated in Big Sky doubles matches at 5-0. The duo ranks third all-time at Eastern for career doubles wins with 19 in two years playing together.

Henninger started his 2011-12 campaign with seven-consecutive wins, including one against the nationally-ranked Oregon Ducks in his hometown of Eugene. Henninger downed UO’s Jose Izquierdo in straight sets at No. 4, 6-2, 7-5. The very next day, Henninger celebrated another big win on the road against conference-foe Portland State, as he defeated Alec Marx in two competitive sets, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

For his efforts in the pair of matches in Oregon, Henninger was tabbed as the Big Sky Conference Player of the Week for the first time in his career.

In the last month, he has won five of six singles matches. Recently, Henninger clinched a 4-2 win for EWU against Weber State when he outlasted WSU’s Dave Hintze in a thrilling three-setter at No. 4. Henninger was down 1-4 in the final set, but rallied to win five games in a row to claim the match by a score of 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

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