Whitman's Senior Tennis Duo Ready for Final Home Matches

News Release Date:
Thursday, April 19, 2012

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Between the two of them, seniors Conor Holton-Burke and Adriel Borshansky have collected nearly 190 career victories in singles and doubles as part of a Whitman College men's tennis dynasty that has taken root over the past six years.

Adriel Borshansky
Conor Holton-Burke

Holton-Burke and Borshansky, the only seniors on the roster this season, take to the Whitman courts for their final home matches this weekend as the Northwest Conference post-season tournament comes to campus.

Whitman, the five-time NWC champion, faces Whitworth at 10 a.m. Saturday in one of two tournament semifinal matches.

By beating the Pirates, Whitman can advance to Sunday's 11 a.m. final against the winner of Saturday's other semifinal.

That second semifinal, which pits Pacific against George Fox, is slated for a 2 p.m. start on Whitman's courts.

The winner of Sunday's final gets the NWC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national championship tournament.

Both Holton-Burke and Borshansky have played key roles this spring as Whitman pieced together its best season in more than two decades.

Ranked No. 1 in the West Region and No. 8 nationally, Whitman is 19-4 on the season, 12-0 in NWC matches, and 19-0 against DIII opponents.

Conor Holton-Burke

Holton-Burke, the reigning NWC Player of the Year, is 14-6 in singles this spring, which includes a 9-1 mark in NWC matches. He is 15-7 in doubles, playing most of those matches with junior Matt Tesmond.

Borshansky has been all but unbeatable in singles during his senior campaign. After dropping a three-set decision to a player from the NAIA's Lewis-Clark State back in February, he has won his last 19 matches.

While helping Whitman post its sixth straight undefeated NWC regular season, Borshanksy and Holton-Burke have continued to shine just as brightly in the classroom.

Borshansky, who came to Whitman from Ridgewood, N.J, has compiled a 3.925 grade point average in his religion major. His senior religion thesis is titled "Women from the Diaspora and of the Wall: An Ethnography on Jewish Ritual Innovation."

Borshansky is also completing a minor in politics and plans to work this summer at a "Seeds of Peace" camp in Maine.

Since its founding in 1993 by journalist John Wallach, Seeds of Peace has set the standard in international peace-building by providing young people and educators from regions of conflict with an otherwise impossible opportunity to meet their historic enemies face-to-face at its International Camp in Maine.

Seeds of Peace is headquartered in New York City but has year-around staff located throughout the Middle East and South Asia.

Borshansky, who studied in Nepal during the fall semester of his junior year, is uncertain about his future plans beyond this summer. His interests in recent years have ranged from working with Hillel-Shalom (Jewish student group) to volunteering at a local retirement center and performing with Schwa, the premier a cappella group on campus. He has also been a guitarist, singer and songwriter for the band Dabbles in Bloom.

Borshansky is the son of Dahlia and Natan Borshansky. His father was a collegiate Nordic skier in Russia.

Holton-Burke, who is majoring in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, has maintained an overall grade point average of 3.972 at Whitman and will graduate with honors. He has the highest GPA of any varsity athlete on campus, and is pursuing a minor in mathematics

Adriel Borshansky

He is the only member of his class elected as a junior to Phi Beta Kappa, the national academic honor society, and he was one of 10 juniors who served as commencement marshals at Whitman commencement ceremonies last May.

His senior thesis is titled "Identification of Potential Small-Molecule Cancer Drugs in E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Systems." His thesis is based on his work last summer in the laboratory of Dr. Xuedong Liu at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where his research focused on development of small-molecule cancer-fighting drugs aimed at preventing degradation of tumor-suppressing proteins.

Holton-Burke, who works as a chemistry tutor in Whitman's Academic Resource Center, plans to remain on campus next year as an assistant tennis coach while he considers a number of M.D./Ph.D programs. 

Holton-Burke, who came to Whitman from Boulder, Colo., is the son of Nancy Holton and Pat Burke. His father played collegiate rugby and golf at Regis University while one of his older brothers, Matt, played varsity tennis at Catholic University.

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