CWRU Athlete of the Decade: Day 4 Matches

James Hopper, Drew Hamilton, Ilissa Hamilton and Hillary Hellmann

Over the course of the next two months, athletics.case.edu will be holding a tournament to decide the Case Western Reserve University Athlete of the Decade. The full bracket can be viewed here.

Today, fans will have the chance to vote on a fourth first-round match, and the final of four play-in contests. The first-round match will feature current men's tennis player James Hopper against former swimmer Drew Hamilton, while the play-in match will be between softball player and recent graduate Ilissa Hamilton and former women's basketball player Hillary Hellmann.

Voting for both matches will be open starting at noon on Wednesday, and continue through 11:59 a.m. on Thursday. In order to vote, you must be logged into a google account. The advancing athletes from the first week of matches will be announced on Friday.

First Round Match #4 - James Hopper vs. Drew Hamilton

James Hopper ('23) is the youngest player in the Athlete of the Decade tournament. Despite having just one season of collegiate tennis on his resume, Hopper has already established himself as one of the top players in the country. He was named the ITA Division III National Rookie of the Year, and earned All-America honors for his play at both singles and doubles in 2019-20. In the fall, he won the ITA Cup Division III National Doubles Championship, while placing fifth in the singles draw at the event. His 31-2 doubles record during the campaign ranked as the second-most ever by a Spartan player, despite seeing the season cut short due to the pandemic. Read more about James in his online bio.

Drew Hamilton ('18) qualified for the NCAA Championships all four years of his career as a Spartan, securing five All-America certificates, including three in individual events. He is the current school record holder in five individual events and a pair of relays, including the 200 Free (1:39.84), 500 Free (4:28.98), 1000 Free (9:30.02), 1650 Free (15:54.06), 400 IM (3:57.85). As a first-year swimmer, Hamilton became the first CWRU swimmer ever (male or female) to be named the UAA Rookie of the Year, after claiming a conference championship in the 500 Free, and led the 800 Free Relay team to the UAA title in 2016, becoming the first CWRU relay to win an event at the UAA Championships. Read more about Drew in his online bio.

Play-in Match #4 - Ilissa Hamilton vs. Hillary Hellmann

Tale of the Tape

Ilissa Hamilton ('20) led the CWRU to the deepest NCAA postseason run in team history. In her first year with the Spartans after transferring from Drexel University, she was named the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Division III Notre Dame Regional and the Most Outstanding Pitcher at the Holland Super Regional, guiding the squad to a fifth-place finish nationally, the best-ever national finish by any CWRU program. She earned All-University Athletic Association honors all three years on the team, and graduated as the program record holder in strikeouts per game. She is also sixth in team history with 37 wins, and fourth with 326 strikeouts and seven shutouts. Read more about Ilissa in her online bio.

Hillary Hellmann ('19) is one of the top scorers in the history of the CWRU women's basketball program. She is second in the program's record books with 1,593 career points and 588 made field goals, and is the team's all-time leader with 220 made three-point shots. In addition, she is fifth with 668 career rebunds and ninth with 60 blocked shots. She is a three-time All-UAA honoree, including a first-team nod during her senior year, and was a finalist for the Jostens Trophy in 2019. Read more about Hillary in her online bio.

Up Next

On Friday, the student-athletes who advanced through the four play-in and four first round matches this week will be announced on athletics.case.edu. Voting will resume on Monday with another first-round match between former softball player Annie Wennerberg and former women's basketball player Evy Iacono.