Now that the Michigan women’s tennis team has won the Leaders and Best Award, given annually to the Michigan team with the highest grade point average, what are the Wolverines going to do next?

No, they will not be going to Disneyland. But they will be heading to sunny Hawaii. Sandy beaches and tropical weather will be the reward for the Michigan athletes who work hard both on and off the court.

After winning the scholarly award and the $20,000 that came with it, the team has conveniently scheduled a road match against Hawaii for next season.

“It’s not about the money,” Michigan junior Kim Plaushines said. “We were excited because we won the award and everybody contributed.”

Many Wolverines did play a part in the honor. Five members of the team were named to the Academic All-Big Ten Conference team last year and a whopping seven out of the nine players secured their names on a list of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement.

Plaushines led the way with a notable 3.74 cumulative GPA. The sports management major says that playing tennis actually makes it easier to do well in school.

“It helps me schedule my time,” she says. “I definitely get more done when I have practice to go to later.”

Plaushines doesn’t plan on taking it easy and resting on her laurels when her Michigan playing days are up.

“After I graduate I’d like to work in the field for a few years,” she said. “Then I’d like to go back to school to get my MBA.”

Two other players who earned Academic All-Big Ten Conference honors last season were LSA junior Kavitha Tipirneni and Business junior Christine Nolan.

Last year’s team proved to be successful on the court as well as off. The Wolverines finished with a 14-11 record last season and a final ranking of No. 39 in the country. They also qualified for the NCAA team championship.

In its third year, The Leaders and Best Award is given out by former football letterman Larry Johnson. The women’s gymnastics team won the award the first two years it was presented.

Even though the Hawaii trip is exciting, it is still almost a year away. Until then, Michigan has to focus on adding to its impressive 3-1 record.

Will the team take time to enjoy the scenery when they get to the tropics?

“It will be fun to go,” Plaushines said. “But we will definitely work hard and get a lot of tennis in.”

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