Former Parkersburg Big Red all-stater Sloane Prince would be the first to admit she's never going to be a professional tennis player.
However, I doubt that was ever one of her career goals.
Instead, the Class AAA runner-up at No. 1 singles this past spring for red and white head coach Pam Reeves will continue her student-athlete role when she heads out on Aug. 25 to Meadville, Pa., to attend Allegheny College.
Prince, a 28-0 No. 4 singles state champion as a sophomore, will join the Gators of head coach Jared Luteran with the hopes of securing a starting nod as a freshman.
In her time as a Big Red, Prince did what any student-athlete strives to do and that's get better with each passing day.
As a freshman, she was only a No. 3 doubles player and was ousted in the regional final.
From there, though, she went on to not only earn all-state honors, but she helped PHS to a pair of back-to-back triple-A state runner-up finishes. Prince and fellow teammate Monika Keiser also sealed the Big Reds' 17th and most recent state crown during her sophomore campaign when they earned the decisive point to best runner-up Huntington in the No. 2 doubles title match.
"I am shooting for a four or five singles spot and at the least a doubles spot," said Prince, who is going to test the waters in political science as a possible major after finishing her academic career with a 3.75 cumulative GPA.
Allegheny College, a Division III member of the North Coast Athletic Conference, is just like Marietta College here locally as it doesn't offer athletic scholarships.
Kids who decide to play at Division III institutions do so knowing they are competing for the love of the respective sport they are playing.
That's just fine with Prince, who was able to manage a Leadership Scholarship from Allegheny College. It will pay for a large portion of her college expenses.
One thing which I found interesting while talking to Prince last week was how she used the website tennisrecruiting.net to help her get noticed.
"I was on it my junior and senior year. You have to play a lot of tournaments to get a lot of exposure and it's harder in West Virginia," she said.
Putting her information out there allowed her to gain more exposure and for coaches to see videos of her playing.
Even though her time as a Big Red is over and catching up with her former teammates is anything but easy these days, Prince said she hopes to be back around the program.
"It's been really hard and we went four years with Pam and kind of grew up together," she said. "I think what most of us are going to do is come back to see some matches.
"I know I won't be the only one at states because Alex (Bush) comes back and watches. Hopefully, it's not the last of Big Red tennis."
I'm sure Prince will find her way back when she can and it will be interesting to see how her Gator career evolves.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org