McPherson High senior Taylor Swartzendruber said her signing of her letter of intent on Monday with Baker University “was meant to be.”
Swartzendruber will be attending the Baldwin City-based school to play tennis after a solid career for the Bullpups, highlighted by her playing a key role in MHS winning the Class 4A state championship this past fall.
Swartzendruber and Brooke Bate combined to place ninth in the state in doubles and the duo combined for a 25-win season. They advanced by placing fifth in the regionals. They also placed third in the league championships.
As a junior, Swartzendruber also combined with Bate, as they were 23-15 in doubles and qualified for state, after taking fifth in the regionals. In the AVCTL Division III Championships, they were third in doubles.
“I really liked their business program there,” Swartzendruber said. “Their campus was really cool. Their coach (Joe Ahmadian) called me and I was like, ‘it must be meant to be.”
Swartzendruber will be going from one high-level program under coach Tyler Brown to another under Ahmadian.
“I went and watched them on Saturday and they did really well,” Swartzendruber said. “They’re really impressive.”
Swartzendruber, whose father Tim is the head basketball coach at McPherson College, could have stayed in town to play for the Bulldogs’ high-powered program, but decided maybe it was time to spread her wings and fly.
“I think I just wanted to experience something different,” she said. “I think it is a lot like McPherson, which is what made me decide to go there.”
“Beyond her just being a high-level player, she seems like a good person and would be just a good athlete to bring on to our program and on the campus as a whole,” Ahmadian said. “Hopefully that experience (of playing in a top high school program) will help our program once she gets there. That winning attitude, hopefully it will be contagious.”
Ahmadian said the Wildcats are a Top 3 program in the Heart of America Conference and continue to close in on the two best programs (Evangel and Lewis and Clark State). “We have three other girls signed along with Taylor,” he said. “We’re losing only one (senior). We’re taking a big step forward next year.”