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Molefe Named ITA NAIA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award Winner

Alisha Alexander | Sports Information Director

LEWISTON, Idaho – Bonolo Molefe became the third LC State Women’s Tennis player to earn the ITA NAIA Arthur Ashe Leadership & Sportsmanship Award Winner, announced by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association on Thursday.

“Bonolo is a stalwart of the tennis program,” Head Coach Kai Fong said. “The more she does, the more she learns about what she is capable of doing. She has worked so tirelessly. Nothing has come easy for her. I admire her tenacity. She is the ‘Little Engine that Could”. 

Molefe is a native of Botswana and, like many others, faced uncertain times when Covid shut college athletics down. She remained on campus and waited out the storm. Since then, Molefe has made an impact across the country. She applied and was awarded the American Red Cross Collegiate Leadership Program (scholarship and internship) in the summer of 2022 and she attended the training in Washington D.C. with other awardees from numerous NAIA institutions. She has also coordinated three blood drives on campus, and in two of those drives, the collection total exceeded expectations.

She recognizes that it is important to give back to the community and has expressed numerous times that she is very grateful for the opportunity accorded to her to better her life that she had in Botswana.

“I remember worrying about her wellbeing during the Covid campus shutdown, just two months after her arrival onto US soil,” Fong recalled. “Bonolo assured me that ‘I’ll be fine Coach. I am in the US, where I want to be.’ Her gratitude resonated with me. She is maximizing her college experience opportunities by taking on a variety of projects. This is in addition to a full load of classes, being a member of the tennis team, and working two jobs to make ends meet. Her involvement with community service projects is astounding. I do not know how she fits everything into her days.”

Molefe just completed her sophomore season with the Warriors with a 4-4 record in singles play. She was the women’s tennis nominee for Comeback Athlete of the Year and Warrior of the Year after missing most of last season due to injury.

“I am very proud of what she has done and what she will continue to do in all her numerous roles to impact others in a positive manner,” Fong said. “It is humbling to see her as the recipient of this prestigious award, knowing that there are others who have made similar contributions in unnoticed ways.”