R.V. Borleske Trophy: Solomon Wins
Many Matches, Voted Top Male Athlete

News Release Date:
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Matt Solomon, a two-time Northwest Conference Player of the Year in men's tennis, is the 2010 winner of the R.V. Borleske Trophy, which is presented annually to the top male athlete at Whitman College.

The trophy, which is awarded by a vote of the Whitman coaching staff, recognizes athletic ability and accomplishments, leadership and sportsmanship qualities, and contributions to the campus as a whole.

       Matt Solomon

Solomon, playing No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles, led Whitman to its third straight Northwest Conference title this spring, and to its fourth consecutive 16-0 NWC regular season.

Ranked No. 22 nationally in NCAA Division III, Whitman advanced to the national championship tournament for the fourth time in as many years. A loss in the regional semifinals to No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps ended Whitman's season with a 20-5 record.

Solomon, however, has as at least one more match left in his college career. He is one of 32 players from around the country invited to play in the NCAA DIII national singles tournament, slated for late this month in Oberlin, Ohio. He is the first Whitman player to make the singles tournament since Steven Ly in 2006.

Solomon got his senior year off to a strong start last September when he won his third straight singles titles at the ITA's Pacific Northwest Fall Tournament. Despite playing with a torn stomach muscle, he then split four matches at the national small college championships, placing seventh and earning ITA All-America honors in singles for a third time.

As a three-time winner of the ITA's PNW doubles title, Solomon is also a three-time ITA All-American in doubles. 

After a slow start early this semester, Solomon posted a 12-5 singles record in spring dual matches, which included an 8-2 record against NWC opponents. His only losses in conference came early in the season and were later avenged.

In non-conference play, Solomon split a pair of matches with UC-Santa Cruz No. 1 Bryan Pybas, and lost close decisions to Tommy Meyer and Andrew Giuffrida, the No. 1 players at Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Lutheran, respectively.

Solomon was named NWC Player of the Week three times during the spring season. His latest Player-of-the-Year award, announced at the NWC post-season tournament in April, makes him only the second Whitman player to twice take home the honor.

Whitman's Tim Mullin was a two-time winner earlier this decade. The NWC began giving the award in the early 1990s.

Solomon, who earned All-NWC Second-Team honors as a freshman, was named NWC Player of the Year for the first time at the end of his sophomore season. He took a one-semester leave of absence from Whitman last spring and helped Boise State make the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division I team championships.

                                   Matt Solomon

"As a player Matt is probably Whitman's most decorated male athlete of the past 25 years, but he is also one of the most outstanding young men to ever play tennis here," Whitman tennis coach Jeff Northam says.

"He obviously had a tremendous impact on the courts, but the leadership he gave our team was just as important."

Solomon, an economics major, is a "serious student who was recently named to the NWC's Scholar-Athlete Team," Northam adds. "He's been very involved on campus, contributing time to the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, his fraternity, the school newspaper and the Whitman Investment Club. He also took time from his busy schedule to mentor students at a local elementary school."

"Matt has been a very special part of the Whitman community," Northam says. "I can think of no other player who embodies all the characteristics represented by the Borleske Trophy. I just wish Matt could stay at Whitman for four more years to help mentor and inspire his teammates." 

Solomon, a graduate of St. Stephen's Episcoal School in Austin, Texas, is the son of Joan and Murray Solomon of Los Gatos, Calif.

The Borleske Trophy honors Raymond V. Borleske, who achieved legendary status as an athlete and later as a coach at Whitman during the first half of the 20th century. He starred on Whitman's football and baseball teams, and he was the first football player from the Northwest to be recognized by Walter Camp's Spaulding Football Guide.

After graduating from Whitman and earning a law degree, Borleske returned to campus in 1915 to begin a coaching career that continued until 1947.

For a complete listing of past Borleske Trophy winners, please click here.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
holden@whitman.edu; (509) 527-5902