-Marcelo Maziero, Contributing Writer
Keeping a 4.0 GPA as a pre-med major and collegiate tennis player, while also maintaining a good relationship with best friends and a girlfriend sounds like a bit too much, right? Not for Matthew Martin.
Martin started to play tennis when he was 12 years old in Laurel, Miss., his home town. At first it was only a recreational activity but, after two years of practicing, he decided to bring his game to a more competitive level. He played for West Jones High School for five years and during these years he qualified four times for the High School State Tournament and made it to the finals in two of them. When he was in the 11th grade, he led the entire team to the finals in the same tournament.
When Martin had to decide where to go for college, tennis played a very important role in his decision. MC tennis coach, David Boteler, recruited Martin for his tennis team, and Martin accepted the challenge of representing MC. What Martin didn’t know at this point was that a successful college tennis player career was about to begin.
His freshman year, Martin showed his talents playing number five and finished the 2012 season with a 15-1 overall score in singles and 13-4 in doubles. His sophomore year, he played number four and it was a little more challenging. He finished 8-7 on singles and 5-3 on doubles. Last year, Martin was promoted to number two on the MC tennis team and showed he was ready to handle the biggest challenges. He had an overall score of 12-7 on singles and 11-7 on doubles. All three years he played for MC the tennis team made to the Conference Championship and last year, during Martin’s junior year, MC played in the National Championship.
None of the years Martin played for MC went by without an award for him. His freshman year he was granted the ASC Freshman of the year for tennis, ASC All-Conference, and Team MVP awards. His sophomore year he won the ASC Second Team All-Conference and Team MVP awards. And his junior year, he won Team MVP and Capital One All District Team awards.
Martin’s challenges are not over when he leaves the tennis court. He is a pre-med major, a field known among students as one of the most tough and time-consuming majors at MC. But Martin is a winner off-court as well, since he has been able to keep a 4.0 GPA for almost all four years of school. “This is probably my achievement that I am most proud of: keeping good grades and being successful in tennis at the same time,” said Martin. “I cannot deny that it has not always been easy, but being able to keep playing tennis for this team has been a reward and a release in itself.”
Now that MC has move up to Division II, Martin is aware of the higher quality competitors MC will face, but he uses it as a “motivation for the team to work even harder, push our limits and find out how good we can be at tennis,” Martin said. Not concerned only about himself, but with the entire MC tennis team, he claims that “it does not matter the line up next season, whether I am playing or not, I want to be that person the players will look to for encouragement and energy. As a senior, I want to have some influence on the rest of the team and be seen as a leader,” Martin concluded.
The tennis season does not start until the spring, but do not forget to come watch and support Martin and the rest of the MC Choctaw tennis team.