How High School Tennis Paved a Path to College
Thomas “Isaac” Grantham didn’t think playing college tennis would be an option. Since he was so busy with school and his after-school job, he couldn’t play a lot of junior tournaments in order to build up his ranking and UTR.
“I didn’t do USTA tournaments because of my work schedule at HEB,” Isaac told UTR. “Schoolwork and Varsity Tennis during the week and my work schedule during the weekends left little time for tournaments.”
But now that Texas High School Tennis teams are reporting their individual and team match results to UTR, players like Isaac CAN realistically have the goal of continuing to compete in their sport in college. (For more on the Texas High School Tennis/UTR relationship, be sure to listen to my podcast with coaches Troy Simonek and Corey Aldridge here.)
Unfortunately, people who don’t play in a lot of tournaments maybe don’t have the eyes of coaches, so if you really want it, then you need to make the
effort to show it.
I sent college coaches emails and explained my situation. I told them how I play kids on my team who are a certain UTR level and beat them, and I gave
them examples of the type of player I am and my style.
Coach Simonek definitely makes an effort to talk to college coaches. He knows Coach Enge at Ottawa [who will be one of our panelists at the upcoming WTCA Tennis Parent Recruiting Session] and asked him to come watch me play. Coach Enge said he was interested and liked my style, and knew we could improve together. Those words were awesome to hear.
I like UTR because UTR gives you an easy goal, since it’s a number and that’s something you can use to set goals. Right now, I’m a 7.38 and my goal is to be a 9 by the end of my freshman year at Ottawa.
What makes Isaac’s story so special is that he didn’t follow the typical Junior Tennis Pathway playing USTA or ITF tournaments for 10+ years. He focused on school and an after-school job, committing to play for his high school team each of the 4 years he was eligible. As a result of his hard work, and his high school tennis coach’s commitment to helping players find the right college tennis fit, Isaac will be playing for Ottawa University in Kansas starting in the Fall. For those unfamiliar with Ottawa, it is an NAIA school considered among the Top 25 in the US. You can read more about its tennis program here.
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