Former Peters Township standout tennis player Connor Bruce was honored by the University of Dayton Athletics Department as its 2020 Rookie of the Year.
The distinction was announced during the eighth annual Recognition and celebration of University of Dayton Student-Athletes Year-end Showcase, which was held on the Flyers’ social media platforms.
The Dayton athletic department announced all the winners on its Twitter and Instagram accounts, rather than at an in-person banquet, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I want to start off by saying how honored and humbled I am that I have been chosen ROTY,” said Bruce. “I know that there are so many other deserving athletes for this award and it does mean a lot that I have been chosen for it.”
The McMurray native was selected based on his accomplishments as the Flyers’ No. 1 singles player. He posted a 10-6 overall record. The 5-11 freshman won eight of his final 10 singles matches and posted a 3-1 record in all of his Atlantic-10 matches. Named A-10 rookie of the week five times, Bruce also won six matches at No. 1 doubles with his partner Joe DeMarco.
Connor said the award proved a yardstick for his progress as well as the team’s improvement. Connor was 8-5 and the Flyers were 6-7 this spring when the remainder of the season was canceled because of the coronavirus crisis.
“It shows that work does pay off and I will continue to work hard on and off the tennis court to help Dayton strive for greatness,” said the 19-year-old son of Robert Bruce.
Bruce said Dayton’s athletic administration, strength and conditioning coach Casey Cattrall, tennis coach Ryan Meyer and his teammates helped him achieve the rookie of the year award.
“They are all great guys,” he said. “We are all friends. We have each other’s back and we are there for each other whenever we need to be.”
Before arriving at Dayton, Bruce was there for Peters Township.
For three years, he was the No. 1 singles player for the Indians. Undefeated in his regular season matches, he became the only freshman in school history to win a WPIAL singles title in 2017. As a junior in 2019, he captured a PIAA doubles championship.
The two-year captain was a four-star recruit and ranked as high as No. 16 nationally during his scholastic career. A highest honor role student, he graduated early and enrolled early at Dayton to commence his collegiate career and embark on his studies in operations and supply management.
Bruce comes from an athletic family. His mother, Marcy, was a PIAA champion at Mt. Lebanon High School and played tennis at the College of Charleston. His brother, Hunter, was a WPIAL golf champion. He currently plays at Penn State. His sister, Marra, combined with Kat Wang to win WPIAL and PIAA doubles titles last fall.