Emily Anne Beasley wasn't necessarily looking to play tennis beyond high school, even as she entered her fifth and final season on the Wilson Hall varsity team.
However, University of South Carolina Sumter men's and women's tennis coach Alex Poda …
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However, University of South Carolina Sumter men's and women's tennis coach Alex Poda had planted a little bug in her ear.
"Last year, Alex was really talking to me, saying, 'You're really not as bad as you think you are.' " Beasley said. "I said, 'OK, I'll think about it, not really thinking about what I was saying.
"This year, I was playing, and playing well," she added. "I was like, 'Oh, I can actually do this.' "
And Beasley actually made it official last week, signing to play with the Fire Ants in a ceremony at Wilson Hall's Nash Student Center.
"It's very exciting," Beasley said in a low key tone. "I'm ready to see how it goes."
Poda was at Beasley's signing ceremony. He spoke of how he had seen almost all of Beasley's home matches with Wilson Hall at Palmetto Tennis Center each of the last two years. Poda likes the determination she has on the court.
"It's always impressive to watch the way you fight and I'm really excited to have you playing at USC Sumter," Poda said.
Beasley didn't start playing tennis until she was 12 years old, taking lessons at PTC.
"My dad (Chad) told me I should play," she said. "I wasn't playing anything else really. Whenever I first started, I just picked up the racket and figured it out."
She played No. 1 on the Wilson Hall junior varsity as a seventh-grader and moved up to varsity the following year. Beasley played No. 1 her final two years on the varsity.
Beasley posted a 58-16 record in singles in her Wilson Hall career. As a doubles player, she had a 43-15 record.
When she first started taking lessons, she was playing junior tournaments and did have a ranking. However, since she is also rides on the Wilson Hall equestrian team, she gave up tournament play.
Beasley said USC Sumter was her only offer to play tennis collegiately. She considered just going to school, but decided against it for two reasons.
"One part is just kind of staying at home and figuring everything out," Beasley said. "I've grown up playing sports, so I thought, 'Why not keep on playing sports?' I'd prefer to do that instead of go off to school somewhere and doing nothing."
Beasley is open to the possibility of playing beyond USC Sumter.
"We'll just kind of see where it goes," she said.
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