Ashley Brunk, Bates College

Ashley Brunk

Ashley Brunk was a mainstay in the Bates College women's tennis team's lineup from her first year through her senior season, and a big reason the Bobcats rose into the national rankings over the course of the Phoenix, Ariz., native's junior and senior years.

An English major with a concentration in creative writing, Brunk maintained a lofty 3.75 grade point average through four years. She was also a two-year leader of Bates Christian Fellowship and a Peer Writing Fellow, and was named an alternate for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in South Korea.

Brunk played third or fourth singles and second or third doubles for most of her career, but as a senior, she became half of Bates' No. 1 doubles team, along with her NCAA Championship experienced partner, Elena Mandzhukova '15. Together, Brunk and Mandzhukova amassed a 7-12 record in Bates' dual matches on the year, while tackling the at-times thankless task of facing each opponent's top doubles team.

Brunk's anchoring presence at the top of the doubles lineup helped the Bobcats maintain a national ranking among the top 35 teams by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association throughout the season, for the first time in team history. The year before, she and classmate Nicole Russell went 10-7 playing doubles together, mostly as Bates' No. 2 team.

In singles play, Brunk was equally solid in her senior season, going 8-10 individually. After posting wins against opponents from UC Santa Cruz and Mount Holyoke early in the campaign, Brunk was raised from the fourth position to No. 3 in Bates' singles lineup, and named Bobcat of the Week.