3 Oklahoma Christian student-athletes net NCCAA national honors

Freshman women's cross country runner Tara Lewis is one of three OC student-athletes honored Tuesday as NCCAA student-athletes of the week.
Freshman women's cross country runner Tara Lewis is one of three OC student-athletes honored Tuesday as NCCAA student-athletes of the week.

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 9, 2012) – Three Oklahoma Christian student-athletes were honored Tuesday as National Christian College Athletic Association student-athletes of the week.

Anna Arrese Cortadellas (women’s golf), Tara Lewis (women’s cross country) and Martin Poboril (men’s tennis) received their respective weekly honors from the Greenville, S.C.-based NCCAA for performances during the week of Oct. 1-7.

While OC won a handful of national player of the week awards through the years while a member of the NAIA, the university’s student-athletes never had received more than two such national honors in any one week before Tuesday.

OC left the NAIA at the end of June and is in the first year of the NCAA Division II membership process. The university also joined the NCCAA in July, along with a handful of other former top NAIA programs that also have started the NCAA membership process.

OC now is a member of the Heartland Conference and its athletic teams are playing primarily NCAA Division II schedules.

“It’s been an outstanding fall for our OC athletic programs,” OC Athletic Director Curtis Janz said. “We are enjoying across-the-board success as we transition into the Heartland Conference and work toward NCAA Division II membership. It is encouraging to see so many of our student-athletes being recognized by the NCCAA and the Heartland Conference for their hard work and success.”

Poboril, a senior from Pribram, Czech Republic, was honored by the NCCAA for his accomplishments in the U.S. Tennis Association-Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division II South Central Regional, which ended last Monday in Abilene, Texas. He won four matches and reached the semifinals of the 64-player singles bracket that featured top NCAA Division II players from Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

With teammate Bruno Tiberti, Poboril also reached the title match in the 32-team doubles bracket, falling 10-6 in a super tiebreaker to a duo from Abilene Christian (Texas) after splitting the first two sets. It was the first time OC – which won the 2012 NAIA team championship in May – had played in an ITA Division II regional.

Lewis, a freshman from Edmond, starred in the Bison Invitational on Saturday in Shawnee. Despite being OC’s only entrant in the five-kilometer race, Lewis posted career-bests for time (18:42) and overall finish (fifth). It was the second time in her four collegiate meets that Lewis had an individual top-10 finish.

Arrese Cortadellas, a sophomore from Barcelona, took the NCCAA honor for the second straight week. She was honored for her play in last week’s RCB Bank Classic at Lincoln Park Golf Club’s East Course. Arrese Cortadellas posted a two-round score of 1-over-par 143 to earn medalist honors in that event, the second straight week she’d taken top individual honors in a tournament.

She received the NCCAA award last week as well after winning the Grand Canyon Fall Invitational in Litchfield Park, Ariz.

In five weeks of competition this fall, five OC student-athletes have combined to win six NCCAA national player of the week awards. In addition to Arrese Cortadellas, Lewis and Poboril, men’s soccer player Sam Guernsey of Broken Arrow and men’s golfer Sam Johnston of San Diego have received national weekly honors.

OC student-athletes also have combined to win 13 Heartland Conference weekly awards during the past five weeks in men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country and men’s and women’s golf.