Prep Signing: East tennis star Pressley to Queens

  • Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013 12:24 a.m.
East Rowan’s Hannah Pressley signs her scholarship papers with Queens while, from left, dad Donnie, mother Wendy and grandfather Perry Lowman look on.
East Rowan’s Hannah Pressley signs her scholarship papers with Queens while, from left, dad Donnie, mother Wendy and grandfather Perry Lowman look on.

By Ronnie Gallagher

GRANITE QUARRY — Hannah Pressley was asked how she thinks she’ll do next year on the Queens University tennis team.

“If you put in the hard work and effort, you’ll get up there (in the lineup),” she said.

No one knows that better than the bubbly Pressley, who started her career in rather unorthodox fashion.

The day before Erwin tennis tryouts in her seventh grade year, she approached mother Wendy.

“My mom liked tennis and we watched matches on TV,” Pressley recalled. “I told her I wanted to play some kind of sport and she said, ‘Hey, might as well go out and try.’ ”

Hannah had never picked up a tennis racket — and it showed.

Wendy laughed. “I told her, ‘You’re not ready.”

But they both knew, “Ready or not, here comes Hannah.”

“I couldn’t get the ball across the net to save my life,” Pressley chuckled about her first Erwin practice. “But when I came home screaming about making the team, my mom said, ‘Anything you put your mind to, you can do it.’ ”

Everyone was nervous that first day of Bill Sunberry’s tryouts and Pressley said she made the team because she was the only one the coaches could hear when they asked the players to say their names.

She has been making noise ever since.

In only a year, Pressley earned the No. 1 singles spot at Erwin. Once at East, she hooked up with coach Laurie Wyrick and found her to have the same attitude as Sunberry.

“My freshman year was my favorite because Wyrick was our coach,” Pressley said. “We had that fun atmosphere. And we had a lot of heart.”

The Mustangs became a North Piedmont Conference power once Pressley’s class arrived. East won four straight titles.

Pressley was 48-1 in conference matches before losing in the third round of the playoffs this past season.

“The best part of my game is the backhand, totally,” she noted. “If you hit it to my backhand, I’ve gotcha.”

The only setback she suffered wasn’t on the tennis court. She sustained a severe concussion her sophomore year playing soccer — “a silly moment in my life,” she says — but it made her work even harder in tennis. She played No. 4 her last three years at East and set her sights on a college career.

“Originally, I wanted to go to Catawba,” Pressley said. “But I kinda felt out of place. I didn’t really feel like it was my home.”

Then, she made a trip to Charlotte to visit Division II Queens.

“I knew as soon as I stepped out there. I said, ‘I have to go here.’ ”

Pressley said she met with coach Brett Karpman, who has developed a strong program which has been ranked.

“He said, ‘We’ll see what we can do,’ ” Pressley said. “Two minutes after we got on the road, he called and said, ‘I think we’ve got something for you.’ I was freaking out. I was ecstatic.”

Pressley’s smile and personality tells you she pretty much stays ecstatic. Karpman won’t have to worry about her attitude. He should expect success.

“I stayed overnight with some of the players and I love the team atmosphere,” Pressley said.

“They really pull for each other.”

Kinda like mom did that day before tryouts in the seventh grade.

And we all know how that turned out, right?

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