After five years of epitomizing the term student-athlete, Valparaiso University tennis fifth-year senior Claire Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) is being recognized in a major way for her excellence on the courts and in the classroom.
Czerwonka was named the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year on Friday, headlining the league’s annual Scholar-Athlete First Team. Olivia Czerwonka (Kenosha, Wis. / Saint Joseph Catholic Academy) joined her older sister on the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, while the Valpo trio of Mia Bertino (Lockport, Ill. / Joliet Catholic), Demi Jhaveri (Westlake, Ohio / Westlake) and Isabella Schoolcraft (Bargersville, Ind. / Center Grove) earned MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.
A member of the Fall 2021 MVC Champion Flight 1 doubles team, Claire earned MVC All-Select Team status this season after registering 13 singles wins (3-2 in MVC) and 19 doubles wins (3-2 in MVC) during the regular season. Entering the MVC Tournament, she and Olivia are part of a tie for fourth in program history for single-season doubles wins. Furthermore, Claire owns a program-record 71 career doubles wins and ranks fifth in program history with 57 career singles wins. The fifth-year senior possesses 12 career MVC weekly awards including eight doubles honors.
Claire, who owns a 4.00 grade point average in the FNP/DNP graduate nursing program after finishing with a 3.51 undergraduate GPA in nursing, earned MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention, the State Farm MVC Good Neighbor Award and the team “Valpo Award” in 2020-21.
Claire earned the dean’s list award for posting a 4.0 GPA in her Doctor of Nursing practice graduate program during the fall. She participated in “Books and Coffee,” reviewing “All In” by Billie Jean King and presenting the book in front of peers and the greater Valpo community. A Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member (2018-present), the three-year team captain is a member of Independent Study in Nursing at Valpo: Low Stress Nursing Care for Infants: Decreasing DNA Methylation; Fall 2020-Spring 2021. She graduated cum laude in May 2021 with her undergraduate degree in nursing. As a team leader, Claire has helped Valpo to its highest win totals, both overall and MVC play, since 2007 while helping the team win the Valparaiso University Team GPA Award. She also owns ITA Scholar-Athlete Awards, MVC Academic Honor Roll, MVC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award and Valparaiso University Presidential Academic Honors.
Olivia, who owns a 3.71 GPA in nursing, was named the MVC Player of the Year on Thursday night in addition to garnering First Team All-MVC status at No. 1 singles. This past fall, she won the Flight 2 Singles and Flight 1 Doubles crowns at the MVC Individual Championships. Olivia made a seamless transition to the No. 1 singles spot this spring. She finished 4-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play and accumulated 21 total singles wins this season, the third-most in single-season program history. She and Claire own 19 doubles wins this season, tied for the fourth most in single-season program history. As a team captain, Olivia participated in “Books and Coffee,” reviewing “All In” by Billie Jean King and presenting the book in front of peers and the greater Valpo community. She is involved in a Nursing Research Study that determines the effect of circadian lighting on premature infants’ DNA Methylation. She has volunteered at Munster Community Hospital to help run a class for future grandparents and parents to explain safe home care for a newborn baby. A Dean’s List honoree, Olivia is a member of Zeta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma) and has won ITA Scholar-Athlete Awards, MVC Academic Honor Roll, MVC Commissioner’s Academic Excellence Award and Valparaiso University Presidential Academic Honors.
Bertino owns a 3.82 GPA in elementary education, Jhaveri holds a 3.88 in digital media and Schoolcraft owns a 3.75 in biology. Bertino, who won an MVC Singles Player of the Week honor earlier this season, is part of St. Teresa’s of Avila community where she attends bible studies and sings at mass on the weekends. She is part of the Luce/community band at Valpo. Jhaveri won the team’s 2020-21 Scholar-Athlete Award last season and earned an MVC Doubles Team of the Week award in March 2021. Schoolcraft is one of two seniors on a team that has posted its highest win total since 2007 and won the team academic award for the highest GPA among Valpo teams.
2022 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete First Team
Name School Yr. GPA Major
Claire Czerwonka Valparaiso 5th 4.00 FNP/DNP Graduate Nursing Program
Olivia Czerwonka Valparaiso Jr. 3.71 Nursing
Elena Jankulovska Illinois State So. 4.00 Psychology
Mathilde Sreeves Stony Brook Jr. 3.91 Computer Science (Philosophy Minor)
Kristine Theys Stony Brook Jr. 3.97 Business (Leadership Minor)
Daria Walczak Drake Sr. 3.90 Actuarial Science
Tijana Zlatanovic Illinois State So. 3.93 Exercise Science
2022 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Tennis Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention Team
Name School Yr. GPA Major
Alexandra Abyasova Illinois State Jr. 3.75 Parks and Recreation Management
Mia Bertino Valparaiso So. 3.82 Elementary Education
Demi Jhaveri Valparaiso Jr. 3.88 Digital Media
Liza Petushkova Drake Sr. 3.72 Finance/Accounting and Information Systems
Maria Potsi Illinois State Sr. 3.67 Biomechanics
Mara Presot Missouri State Sr. 3.98 Hospitality Leadership
Isabella Schoolcraft Valparaiso Sr. 3.75 Biology
Ines Stephani Drake So. 3.57 International Relations and Affairs
Issa Sullivan UNI So. 3.81 Movement & Exercise Science