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Spring Signing Week '15: National Roundup

Signing Week is underway, and tomorrow, senior tennis players will begin signing their National Letters of Intent with Division I and Division II schools. We have been tracking verbal commitments since the beginning of the academic year (boys, girls), and throughout the remainder of the week, we will be featuring commitment announcements and comments from a variety of boys and girls.

Today, we hear comments from diverse tennis players across the country in our National Roundup. We talked with several recruits who have made their college selection. We asked them about their college choices - and how they reached their decisions.

Here is a whirlwind tour around the country to review these verbal commitments. Check out what they have to say...


Reid Teatsorth (Findlay, Ohio) to Toledo

Reid Teatsorth has always been an athlete, but his experience freshman year competing for the Findlay High School tennis team opened his eyes to tennis. Playing No. 2 singles, Teatsorth went 21-7 and was an all-conference selection. At that point he decided to focus on tennis - increasing his tournament load - and has never looked back. The 3-Star recruit has performed well in USTA tournaments, and he was named USTA Northwest Ohio's player of the year. At the conclusion of his junior year, Teatsorth was one of sixteen tennis players to compete in the Ohio Division I State Championships in singles - and his 74-16 career record sets him up to set a school record for victories. Next year, Teatsorth plans to stay in Ohio - but he will wear the blue and gold of the Toledo Rockets.


Reid Teatsorth heads to Toledo
courtesy, Scott Gerber, OhioTennisZone
Congratulations on your commitment to Toledo. What do you like most about the school?

Toledo to me is close enough and far enough from home. I don't feel as if I will be living at home, but if something happens I can be home in a matter of an hour. Toledo's campus is beautiful to see in all seasons, and it is the perfect size both campus-wise and population as well.

The school really values athletics and makes athletes their priority, and the facilities for the athletes are top-notch. I have also known the coach for a few years - which makes me much more comfortable since I know what I am getting myself into.


How did you go about choosing Toledo?

The biggest factors for me were the coach and the players themselves. I know if I get along well with the coach and the other players - who I will be spending most of the year with - it will make the next four years much more productive and memorable.


As you mentioned, Toledo is only an hour from your home, so I am sure you have visited often. Did you take an official visit as well?

I took an unofficial and an official visit. On the unofficial, coach had me and a few others watch a practice and do a quick tour of the surrounding area.

On the official visit, we started with another practice, another tour, and then we met with different people in the admissions and academic departments. After that, Coach took my family and I out to dinner with two of his players that will be back next year, and we talked to them about the program and various other things as well. The players were extremely easy to get along with. They took us back to the dorm rooms where we stayed overnight with two freshman on the team. We just hung out - we had a great time getting to know each other.

In the morning, Coach Wermer and my family met for breakfast, and then we headed back home to Findlay. I was impressed with how welcoming everyone was about having a new kid come stay the night with them, along with the facilities - both academic and athletic - and the dorm rooms as well.


You mentioned that you already had a relationship with Head Coach Al Wermer. Could you talk more about him?

Coach Wermer has been there for twenty years now, and he knows how to coach a successful college team. He has also been a coach at the USTA Midwest Team Cup event, and my experiences with him there really helped me build a solid relationship. I also love the fact that we share the same goals - both for the team and for me individually. That puts us on the same page where there are no surprises.


Do you have any advice for other junior tennis players who are approaching the recruiting process?

For kids out there that are worried about their rankings, I know how you feel. Until my senior year, I was a two-star recruit who was unsure of if or where I could get a scholarship - especially at the Division I level. But try to put the rankings in the back of your mind, because if you put in the work you need to put in, the rankings will take care of themselves.

After putting the rankings aside and strictly focusing on my game, I improved 200 spots in my class nationally in the course of one year. With the right attitude, you can do it too.


Summer Garrison (Ojai, Calif.) to Lewis & Clark

Summer Garrison has taken a unique path to college tennis. The 4-Star senior graduated from high school this past December and enrolled at Lewis & Clark three months ago. She has certainly hit the ground running - posting a 10-3 record for the Pioneers and playing the No. 1 position in the lineup. Garrison, who frequently participated in USTA Zonals and played on a squad that won a high school state championship, is enjoying the camaraderie of her new team in Portland.


Your path to college is not a typical one. Can you describe it?

My situation at Lewis & Clark is indeed unique. I joined the team in Spring 2015 - having graduated high school in the fall semester. In 2011, my sister and I played together for our high school team and won the championship. We thought teaming up at Lewis & Clark would allow us to repeat our championship magic of four years ago.

In addition to my sister, there are four new strong recruits that are going to enable us to be competitive in the Western Region. Currently, we are riding a 12-match winning streak, and we are in first place in the Northwest Conference!


What do you like most about the tennis program?

At Lewis & Clark, there is a coaching commitment to player development. We have four full-time, dedicated coaches that work with our academic schedules to make us better athletes and tennis players. The coaches and my teammates are committed to improving as players and competing at the highest national level. It was this commitment that drew me to Lewis & Clark.

As far as competition goes, I have always enjoyed the travel aspects of tennis. While I was a junior competing in ITF tournaments, I traveled to fifteen countries - including Cuba, Guadeloupe, Peru and Bolivia. In my first semester of college tennis, I have continued to travel for tennis - to over a dozen cities in different states. This opportunity to travel helps me grow as a person - and to better understand other cultures and people.


You give the coaches high praise. How have they helped you transition to competition right away?

Through the on-court tennis instruction and off-court training and development programs, I have become a better player. Although I am a freshman playing No. 1, I have been able to play our conference matches fully prepared. This has translated into our current team record - undefeated in conference play. It is this pre-match coaching commitment and preparation that has made the transition from junior USTA and ITF tennis to college competition easy, enjoyable and rewarding.


You obviously have your sister, but I understand that you were familiar with a number of your teammates before starting school.

Because of my years in USTA and ITF competition, both as an individual and on national zonal teams, I personally knew four of the players on the team. In addition to the helpful coaches in my transition from high school to college, having four tennis friends on the team made me feel welcomed and enabled us to immediately compete as a winning team - while having lots of fun in the process.


What were your goals for your freshman year?

My goals were to play No. 1, win the Northwest Conference Championship, and establish Lewis & Clark in the Western Region and national NCAA rankings. Now, going into the end of the season, all of my goals for the team have been achieved. Additionally, I have received recognition as Player of the Week. I came into the Spring 2015 season unranked - and I am now in the top ten in the Western Region.

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