June 17, 2005
Sophomores Catrina Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) and Christian Thompson (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman H.S.) became the first set of Notre Dame twins ever to become All-Americans, when they were recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) for their doubles prowess earlier this month. The Thompsons finished the season with a 28-7 record and were #5 in the final ITA national doubles rankings after being the first Irish duo ever to ascend to the top spot.
The ITA All-America team consisted of all players who met at least one of three criteria in singles or doubles. In singles, an individual must 1) finish in the top 20 of the final ITA national singles rankings; 2) earn one of the 16 seeds in the NCAA Singles Championship; 3) advance to the round of 16 in the NCAA Singles Championship. To earn All-America mention in doubles, a player must 1) finish in top 10 of final ITA national doubles rankings; 2) earn one of the eight seeds in the NCAA Doubles Championship; 3) advance to the quarterfinals in the NCAA Doubles Championship.
The twins, who fulfilled the first two requirements in doubles, were 19-4 in dual match action and held a sparkling 7-2 record in close matches in 2004-05. They excelled against the nation’s best, finishing 15-4 against nationally-ranked teams, 8-2 vs. the top 15, and 4-1 when playing higher-ranked squads. They were the only team to reach the semifinals of both of the first two legs of the collegiate grand slam, and they finished the season with a 6-3 record in grand-slam events, reaching the final 16 in the NCAA Doubles Championship for the second straight year. Only two Division I teams recorded more victories in the main draws of grand slams this season: the NCAA doubles champions, Alice Barnes and Erin Burdette of Stanford, (8-1 record) and the Northwestern team of Audra Cohen and Cristelle Grier (7-1).
Prior to coming to Notre Dame, the Thompsons were the #1-ranked 18-and-under girls’ doubles team in the nation, having won national USTA championships on every surface. They were ranked as high as 573rd in the world in doubles and played in the girls’ doubles main draw in the U.S. Open.
The Thompsons are the first Notre Dame women’s tennis players to be All-Americans since 2001, when current assistant coach Michelle Dasso was honored in both singles and doubles, with Becky Varnum. Dasso and Varnum stands as the only ND team ever to win more matches in a season than the Thompson, ending that campaign with a 35-9 record. They join a club of Irish women’s tennis All-Americans that is comprised of 10 student-athletes, who have combined for 17 accolades. Since 1994, Notre Dame has seen eight different players garner 15 All-America citations. Only three other players – Dasso (1999, sophomore), Jennifer Hall (1996, freshman), and Wendy Crabtree (1994, sophomore) – have been named Division I All-Americans during the first half of their careers at Notre Dame.
Only one previous Notre Dame student-athlete from Nevada – in any sport – had gone on to be an All-American. That distinction belongs to another Las Vegas native, sprinter Danny Payton (a product of Rancho High School), who was a track and field All-American in 1997.
Throughout the University’s athletic history, only eight sets of siblings have both been named All-Americans. The Thompsons are the first set of sisters ever to accomplish that, while they join 2004 graduate and three-time All-America fencer Kerry Walton (whose brother Forest was a fencing All-American in 2001) as the only Notre Dame female student-athletes ever to have siblings who were fellow All-Americans. Those two duos are the only sibling sets to be All-Americans in the last 30 years. See below for the complete list.
Notre Dame All-Time Sibling All-Americans (sorted chronologically)Surname First Names Sport All-America Year(s)Evert Jerry M-Tennis 1944 Jim M-Tennis 1947Duff Brian M-Fencing 1952 Rod M-Fencing 1954Grace Joe M-Golf 1958 Tom M-Golf 1961, 1962Donlon John M-Fencing 1961 Steve M-Fencing 1967Daher Mike M-Fencing 1968 Doug M-Fencing 1971DiNardo Larry Football 1970 Gerry Football 1974Walton Forest M-Fencing 2001 Kerry W-Fencing 2002, 2003, 2004Thompson Catrina W-Tennis 2005 Christian W-Tennis 2005