McPherson High is turning into a gold mine for Baker University women’s tennis coach Joe Ahmadian.
Ahmadian returned to MHS to sign his second Bullpup to a letter of intent on Monday, inking MHS senior Shelby Gudenkauf.
Two years ago he signed MHS’ Taylor Swartzendruber, who is now in the Wildcats’ regular rotation.
“Something about Mac, they just have a great program considering the size of the town,” Ahmadian said. “Shelby, we’ve been recruiting her for over a year now and even in that time we have seen a ton of improvement. Her mindset toward tennis, her ambition and her work ethic were really attractive to us at Baker.”
Gudenkauf played both singles and doubles for MHS coach Tyler Brown and just missed making state by one match this fall.
“She’s not someone who’s been playing since she was a little kid,” Ahmadian said. “She hasn’t reached her full potential by any means. I think she’s going to over her four years here.”
The Wildcats do not lose a single senior off this year’s team, with Swartzdendruber expected to be one of the team leaders next year.
“Taylor is a good player for us, she’s exceeded expectations since she’s been there,” Ahmadian said.
Gudenkauf is excited about her choice.
“It just felt like home when I visited,” she said. “It just felt right when I was there. It’s a beautiful campus and it felt like a mini-K-State.”
Gudenkauf said she needs to spend the summer playing a lot of tennis.
“I just need to play a lot and keep working hard like I have been and keep getting better,” she said.
The nursing major is a standout for the McPherson High soccer team that is off to a 4-1 start this spring and ranked No. 4 in Class 4-1A.
In addition to her sports activities, she is involved in HOSA and dance.
Brown is happy to see another of his players moving on.
“I’m just excited to see this, she has worked extremely hard to get to the next level,” he said. “When our season ended, she was asking what she needed to do to make it at Baker. She put in lessons at Genesis right when the season ended and with one of our pros Jeremy Nelson of the Mac Advantage. She continued on with her season. Generally when your senior season ends, a lot of them are like done. She just continued to go on and work hard and get better.”