Hiltzik named Freshman of the Year

COLUMBUS, Ohio (UI Release) - The Big Ten men's tennis All-Conference teams and individual awards were announced Thursday night at the conference banquet, with Illinois tennis standout Jared Hiltzik earning Freshman of the Year honors. In addition, Hiltzik was also named First Team All-Big Ten while sophomore teammate Tim Kopinski picked up Second Team laurels. 

Thus, the Illini have secured at least two All-Big Ten honorees for the past 17 years as both Hiltzik and Kopinski obtained their first end of the season awards in their young collegiate careers.

"I'm tremendously happy for both TK and Jared," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "They both embody hard work and focus and these awards are representative of their commitment. Jared joins a prestigious group being named first team as a freshman. While Kopinski's stats were not overwhelming, I believe the coaches recognize the spirit with which he competes."

Hiltzik becomes the sixth Illini newcomer to win Freshman of the Year, last earned by Dennis Nevolo in 2009. Hiltzik finished his first conference season with a 9-2 singles record and a 7-0 doubles mark when paired with Alex Jesse. The Wilmette native has earned Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week honors three times this spring, last accomplished by Ruben Gonzales in 2008. Key ranked victories this season for Hiltzik include wins over #23 Fred Saba of Duke and #9 Blaz Rola of Ohio State.

Meanwhile, Tim Kopinski has built a solid resume during his sophomore campaign, highlighted by great doubles success with Ross Guignon. Kopinski earned his first Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Week honor after he lifted his Illini to an upset over #7 Kentucky. Another signature singles victory for Kopinski includes a 6-3, 6-2 win over #14 Michael Redlicki of then #5 Duke. In 2013, Kopinski is 7-1 in doubles when playing in the No. 1 position with a key win over the #2 duo of Jenkins/Styslinger from Virginia.

Finally, senior Bruno Abdelnour was Illinois' Sportsmanship honoree for the second consecutive year. The award is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship, ethical behavior and strong academic performance, and who have demonstrated good citizenship outside the sports-competition setting. 

First-Team All-Big Ten*
Josh MacTaggart, Indiana
Sam Monette, Indiana
EVAN KING, Michigan
Aaron Pfister, Michigan State
ROK BONIN, Minnesota
Leandro Toledo, Minnesota
Raleigh Smith, Northwestern
Spencer Wolf, Northwestern
Devin McCarthy, Ohio State
BLAZ ROLA, Ohio State
Connor Smith, Ohio State
Second-Team All-Big Ten
Tim Kopinski, Illinois
Barrett Franks, Michigan
Drew Lied, Michigan State
Chris Diaz, Ohio State
Szymon Tatarczyk, Purdue
Unanimous selections in CAPS
* Additional honorees due to a tie
Athlete of the Year: Evan King, Michigan
Freshman of the Year: Jared Hiltzik, Illinois
Coach of the Year: Ty Tucker, Ohio State
Bruno Abdelnoor, Illinois
Chris Essick, Indiana
Jonas Dierckx, Iowa
Alex Petrone, Michigan
Denis Bogatov, Michigan State
Jack Hamburg, Minnesota
Marc Herrmann, Nebraska
Chris Jackman, Northwestern
Blaz Rola, Ohio State
CJ Griffin, Penn State
Krisztian Krocsko, Purdue
Petr Satral, Wisconsin

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