Excellence Program seniors set to move on to college tennis

Mya Spencer in action at the USTA All-American College Combine in June 2019.
May 22, 2020 02:00 PM

Due to the global coronavirus pandemic, seniors across the United States were unable to have the ending to their high school careers that they might’ve expected.

 

From seeing their spring seasons cut short both in the classroom and on the court to holding graduation exercises virtually, the class of 2020 had to overcome adversity to close the book on an important chapter of life — but thanks in part to the resources provided to them by the USTA Foundation’s Excellence Program, talented tennis players from National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) chapters across the country will enter an exciting next phase.

 

As of mid-May, 22 Excellence Program student-athletes from across the country in the class of 2020 have committed to play tennis at the collegiate level.

 

In partnership with USTA Player Development, the Excellence Program consists of 14 teams in major markets nationwide comprised of nearly 300 of the best student-athletes in the NJTL network. The program helps fund the required educational, tennis training and tournament expenses to foster their opportunity to succeed on and off the court.

 

To date, these student-athletes from nine NJTL chapters have announced that they will compete at 21 different schools on either full or partial athletics and/or academic scholarships beginning this fall.

 

“The training and education I have received at the Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program has helped me on my way to college by providing immense resources for me to improve my game from physical, emotional, and mental standpoints,” said Vassar College commit Sofie Shen from New York.

 

“Every coach invested personal time into helping me improve and show how much they care about me every day at practice. Also at HJTEP, I received a full scholarship to cover tournament fees, travel costs, SAT tutoring, and college advising to allow me to choose and be accepted to my top school, Vassar College.”

 

Other Excellence Program athletes have committed to tennis programs at schools including George Mason University, Rice University, the University of San Diego and the University of Southern California — and commitments are expected to continue into the summer months as schools have modified and adjusted their deposit timelines in light of the events surrounding the pandemic.

 

Mya Spencer, a Maryland native training with the Metropolitan Tennis & Education Group, added: “The Excellence Program has helped me develop relationships that connected me to my [future] college coach. Without the USTA Foundation coaches, I probably would not have the opportunity to attend St. Louis University.”

 

The current list of Excellence Program seniors who have committed to colleges and universities (as of May 22) can be found below: 

 

Zoe Barton, DTEA, Methodist College 

Josiah Biocus, SACTA, Tuskegee University
Emily Brandow, Greensboro, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Mikeal Carpenter, JTCC, Morgan State University

Naomi Cheong, Marty Hennessey, University of Southern California

Alani Cooper,  NYJTL, Chestnut Hill College

Peyton Gatti, Greensboro, University of Tennessee Chattanooga

Emilio Gonzalez, Marty Hennessey, SMU
Trinity Grear, JTCC, Rice University
Origen Grear, JTCC, Frostburg University

Artis Hart, MTEG, Mary Washington University

Blake Kasday, Marty Hennessey, University of San Diego

Martial Kawunde, MTEG, Morgan State University

Julia Kelly, Legacy, U.S. Military Academy - West Point

Nicholas Nguyen, MTEG, U.S. Naval Academy

Daniela Pardon-Castillo, DTEA, Swarthmore College
Hayden Postin, JTCC, George Mason University

Silas Sandles, DTEA, Piedmont International University

Sofie Shen, HJTEP, Vassar College

Mya Spencer, MTEG, Saint Louis University
Jered Wilson, DTEA, Xavier University of New Orleans

Langston Williams, MTEG, Xavier University of Louisiana

 

 

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