On Thursday, July 28, the local tennis community held a showcase at Eupora High School courts for high school juniors and seniors interested in playing in college after graduation.
A total of 24 athletes participated from nine local schools: Caledonia, Columbus, East Webster, Eupora, Heritage Academy, New Hope, Pillow Academy, Starkville and Winona Christian. Five area college programs were represented by their coaches being in attendance: East Central CC, Hinds CC, Holmes CC, Northeast CC and Mississippi University for Women.
The goals of the showcase were to allow student athletes to meet coaches and show off on-court skills, parents to get information on the schools and for coaches to see athletes that could possibly feed into their programs. The athletes participated in hitting drills and played 10-point tiebreakers with various partners. Each coach was given information sheets on every athlete that provided them with details about the athletes.
The coaches had much positive feedback to offer the athletes and those who put on the showcase. East Central CC's coach, Jay Pacelli gave the showcase a great review.
"Enjoyed the tennis showcase very much as a visiting college coach,” he said. “Rob Turner has put on a great event as I watched many talented players in drills and play. Terrific representation of the up-and-coming talent in the area. Will be following many of the players as a result. Thank you for inviting me!"
A big thanks goes to those who helped with the event — Rob Turner, Troy and Tonya King, Randee Jernigan, David Keen, Macie Manasco, David and Jodi Brand, and Valerie Turner. Thank you to the high school coaches that came out to support their kids as well as encouraged them to participate.
Rob Turner is a huge supporter of the tennis community in the Golden Triangle Area and specifically Webster County. He has a great love for tennis and wants all athletes to have opportunities to play beyond high school.
Beyond the showcase, Rob plays an important role in Junior Team Tennis through the United States Tennis Association for Webster County. He is always looking for ways to encourage athletes and participate in the growth and development of tennis players through organization and coaching. This event was made possible by the help of many but mainly the efforts of one.
"This event was created for kids as an opportunity to showcase their skills for the chance to play tennis at the next level and pay for college,” Rob stated. “The college coaches that attended thought the event went much better than expected, and were very grateful for the chance to see a pool of players at one location rather than having to travel around the area.
“My hope is that our local schools and these colleges can develop relationships that will be to our mutual benefit. Looking forward to having another showcase next summer!”
This past year, Webster County had nine athletes playing in junior college tennis programs. This upcoming year, Webster County will be represented by four sophomore athletes and one freshman: Kaleb Parish (sophomore, Northwest CC), Samuel Turner (sophomore, Northwest CC), Walker Mitchell (sophomore, Co-Lin CC), Macie Manasco (sophomore, MUW) and John Thomas Frank (freshman, MS Gulf Coast CC).
Good luck to these athletes this year!