BOONEVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/NEMCC Athletics) - What seemed like an ambitious wish for Payton Pearce just three short years ago has now become a reality.
Pearce has inked a National Letter of Intent (NLI) to become the initial member of Northeast Mississippi Community College’s outstanding 2014-15 men’s tennis signing class.
“Payton’s a self-motivated player who has worked hard to make consistent improvements to his game,” said Tigers head coach Ben Shappley. “His desire and work ethic will be a great addition to our team.”
Pearce was selected as the captain of Saltillo’s squad as a junior and senior because of his leadership and excellent record on the court. However, early in his career Pearce did not see himself playing past the prep level.
“I didn’t think this would come,” he said. “When I started playing my freshman and sophomore years I thought it would be just a high school hobby that I’d be able to do. Doing it in college is very exciting.”
Northeast also announced two women's tennis signees on Wednesday.
Beth Ann Frazier of Kossuth had an 11–1 record in 2014. She was seeded No. 6 in the MHSAA Class 3A individual tournament. The 2014 Division 1-3A girls singles champion was Kossuth's female MVP during her senior season.
Kerston Jumper of Saltillo qualified for the MHSAA Class 5A individual tournament as a sophomore (mixed doubles) and junior (girls singles). She had a 6-5 record during her senior season and led Saltillo to the MHSAA Class 5A semifinals as senior.