Justine Leong to Compete at ITA Fall National Championships for CMS Women's Tennis

Catherine Allen (L) and Justine Leong (R) receive their ITA Cup singles runner-up and championship plaques in Claremont
Catherine Allen (L) and Justine Leong (R) receive their ITA Cup singles runner-up and championship plaques in Claremont

CLAREMONT, Calif. - First-year Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's tennis player Justine Leong will represent Division III at the Oracle ITA Fall National Championships in Newport Beach, California from Nov. 6-10, as the ITA Cup Division III singles national champion.

Leong and senior Catherine Allen both advanced to the Division III championship match at the Oracle ITA Cup in Rome, Georgia last weekend. Due to rain and the doubles competition carrying into Sunday, the two players were unable to hold their singles match in Georgia and postponed it until returning to Claremont. Allen then decided to withdraw to begin rehabbing a fall injury to get ready for the spring season, yielding the singles title and the right to compete in the ITA Fall National Championships to Leong. 

Allen and Leong also both advanced to the ITA West Region singles championship in Claremont on Oct. 7, where Leong earned the first set 6-0 before Allen retired with her injury. Allen and Leong competed together in doubles throughout the fall, winning both the ITA West Region and the ITA Division III Cup championships, before falling in three sets (11-9 in the third-set tiebreaker) to the national junior college champions from Tyler (Texas) Community College in the ITA Cup semifinals, falling just shy of a chance to reach the ITA Fall National Championships in doubles as well. 

Allen has now won three straight Division III national doubles championships, winning both the ITA Cup and the NCAA Division III titles last year with current junior Caroline Cox. Cox is studying abroad this fall, and Allen paired with Leong instead at the ITA events this year to win her third national title in a row. She was also part of the CMS women's tennis team national title in 2018, winning 5-4 over Emory, and nearly helped the Athenas to two titles in a row before they fell to Wesleyan (Conn.) 5-4 in last year's national championship. 

Leong remains undefeated in singles early in her career, standing 10-0 at the first three events she has entered. She will now get the chance to compete in Newport Beach in the same tournament as the nation's top Division I players, beginning on Nov. 6.