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Collins pleased to join Pirates' tennis program

By Bret Strelow
Salisbury Post
Casey Collins ranked East Carolina among her top college choices even before receiving an offer to join the school’s tennis program as an invited walk-on.
She couldn’t pass up that chance.
Collins, a two-time state champion at Salisbury, will continue her career at ECU. She mailed playing footage to coach Tom Morris, whose response took Collins by surprise.
“I just felt like God had answered my prayer,” she said. “I had sent him a video of me to see if he would at least look at it. If not, it was fine.
“When he called me and told me he had looked at the video, I was happy from then on out. It seemed like I worked even harder at my tennis because I could go somewhere big.”
East Carolina just completed a 17-6 season in which it reached the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament. An 11-member team had five seniors, including two who played in the top six, and Morris signed one high school standout in November.
Collins picked the Pirates over Meredith, which competes in Division III. She said she plans to become either a physical therapist or a physician’s assistant, and ECU offers the appropriate majors.
“That’s where I wanted to go if I didn’t play tennis,” Collins said. “When the tennis coach called me, I was so excited.
“He recruits his walk-ons, and he doesn’t have tryouts. I’ll travel with the team and maybe next year get a scholarship if I work hard enough and show what I can do.”
Collins, who played sparingly as a Salisbury freshman, was a key contributor to the squad that won the 2A dual-team title in 2006. A year later, as a senior, she teamed with classmate Susie Wear to win the 2A doubles championship.
The Hornets, 84-6 in the last four years, reached the dual-team final in each of the last three seasons. Collins compiled a 57-4 singles record and went 76-8 in doubles during her prep career.
“We’re incredibly excited and proud of her accomplishments here at Salisbury,” coach Chris Myers said. “To have the opportunity to play Division I is icing on the cake. She worked hard the last four years and improved dramatically since her freshman year.”
Collins is one year younger than her brother, Will, a freshman on Virginia’s golf team.
He won the 2A state title in the spring of his junior year, and his sister helped lead Salisbury past Cardinal Gibbons in the girls tennis final six months later.
Last May, he repeated as the 2A golf champion. Collins and Wear collected another title by beating Shelby’s tandem of Erin Mode-Betsy Martin in the doubles final.
“He kind of encouraged me a little more because he had won two state championships,” Collins said. “When I had won one, I came to him bragging. Then he was like, ‘I’ve won two, so when you get two, then come to me.’
“So when I won two, I had to come to him and say, ‘Yeah, I think we’re on the same level now.’ ”
They will be again once she arrives at East Carolina.
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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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