WINFIELD, Kan. – Southwestern College Head Tennis Coach Jason Speegle has announced the addition of six women's tennis student-athletes for the 2014-15 season. Nya Cheatham, Morgan Hughes, Samantha Kettering, Anna Mankoski, Sydney Shields and Jerlecia Thompson have signed to join the Lady Builder tennis program next season.
Nya Cheatham (Lancaster, Texas – DeSoto HS)
Cheatham will bring a long list of accomplishments to Southwestern. She won her first youth tennis tournament in 2010 when she claimed the Girls 16 Singles championship at the Cotton Bowl Classic tournament. She repeated the feat in 2012, when she started to make her presence known on the high school level. Cheatham finished third in the University Interscholastic League District Singles tournament in 2013, the same year in which she claimed first place in Girls Singles at the 2013 Duncanville Grand Slam, and took championship honors at the UIL District level in singles and mixed doubles.
An advocate of youth tennis, Cheatham was chosen by the United States Tennis Association and the Dallas Tennis Association to speak at the White House to Texas senators and representatives on behalf of the Tennis with Youth program in 2012. One year later, the same organizations selected Cheatham to speak to senators and representatives at the Texas State Capitol on behalf of the Tennis with Youth program.
Morgan Hughes (Derby, Kan. – Derby HS)
Hughes comes to Southwestern as the all-time winningest singles player in Derby High School history. She finished her high school career with a singles record of 72-45, and claimed first place at the McPherson Invitational earlier this season. Hughes led the Panthers to their best-ever finish at regionals, where they finished as runners-up in 2012 and 2013. She was a three-time Kansas 6A state singles qualifier, and finished 12th at the 6A State Championship in both 2012 and 2013.
Vype Magazine recognized Hughes' success by naming her the "Vype Kansas Player of the Month" in October, 2012.
Samantha Kettering (Pratt, Kan. – Pratt HS)
Kettering was a three-year letter-winner at Pratt High School in Pratt, Kansas, before graduating in 2012. She was primarily a doubles player for the Greenbacks, and will be returning from a one-year hiatus from competitive tennis when she joins the Lady Builders next season.
Sydney Shields (Maize, Kan. – Johnson County CC)
Shields will join the Lady Builders after competing for one season at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. She notched her first collegiate win on March 16 when she defeated Meriden College's Molly Davis in Oxford, Mississippi. That win sparked four-straight wins for Shields, who went on to post an 9-7 mark in singles play, where she played as high as No. 2 for the Cavaliers. Shields finished second in No. 4 singles and No. 2 doubles at the NJCAA Region 6 championship, which was held April 25 in Wichita.
Shields graduated from Maize High School in Maize, Kansas, where she was a two-time Kansas 6A State Championship qualifier. She helped guide the Eagles to Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League and Regional Championships in both 2011 and 2012.
Anna Mankoski (Winfield, Kan. – Winfield HS)
Mankoski will continue her Winfield tennis career by trading Winfield High School's blue for Southwestern's purple when she joins the Lady Builder program next season. She posted a 26-11 singles record as a senior during the 2013 season, and was the singles champion at the Independence Invitational tournament, and the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail League Championship tournament. Mankoski went on to finish fifth at the Kansas 4A Regional Championship in Wellington, and finished 11th at the Kansas 4A State Championship tournament in Topeka.
Mankoski is also an established doubles player after her career at WHS. She claimed doubles championship honors as a junior at the Maize South and Winfield tournaments, then posted a fifth place finish at the regional championship before finishing 11th in the Kansas 4A Doubles State Championship tournament.
Jerlecia Thompson (Waco, Texas – University HS)
Thompson will join the Lady Builders after completing the most successful junior tennis season of her career. She was a consolation finalist at the Georgetown Junior Championships, and was a finalist at the Georgetown Junior Open, and was also the Consolation Champion at the Mansfield Open in 2013. Thompson put her skills on display at the Baylor Tennis Camp, where she was a Team Competition Champion at the 2013 camp.
Thompson burst onto the junior tennis scene in 2009, when she claimed first place at the High Point Winter Zat G14's tournament. A year later, she was a Goblin Junior Open Girls 14 singles finalist, as well as a finalist at the Allen Samuels Chevrolet Sunburst Junior Open G14 Super Championship. Her G16 career was highlighted by an appearance in the Consolation Final match at the 2011 Hurst Junior Open.