Tyler Brown’s first collegiate tennis signing as McPherson High boys coach will always be near and dear to his heart.
His standout singles player Gallagher Martin on Thursday signed a letter of intent with Tabor College, which is Brown’s alma mater. The signing took place in the MHS Library before a host of well-wishers and classmates.
Martin has had a solid season for the Bullpups with a 12-4 singles record after going 21-14 as a junior to just barely miss state. Brown believes Martin should advance to state this year if he continues to play as well as he has.
“I feel Gallagher is a great fit for Tabor, not only because it is my alma mater but because he is the leader of our high school team,” Brown said. “With his leadership characteristics and drive to succeed, Gallagher has the recipe to go far not only in tennis, but in life. He is an upstanding individual that works hard every day and tries to bring something positive to every situation.”
“I felt comfortable there,” Martin said. “I felt like it was a family atmosphere. I didn’t feel that from any other colleges. I really felt wanted at Tabor and that was really important.”
Martin says he has a lot of work to do before the fall.
“I’m definitely going to be playing a lot this summer,” he said. “I don’t know if I’m ready for college tennis at this moment. I need to work with the team and get in better shape, better conditioning, better footwork. There will be a lot of things they don’t teach at the high school level that I’ll learn at the college level.”
Martin credits the Mac Advantage program for his rapid improvement.
“The Mac Advantage really helps,” he said. “We have one of the best programs in all of the state, maybe even the best in the summer. You’ve just got to stick with it, do what the coaches tell you to do. They know what’s best.”
At the college level, Martin will be playing both singles and doubles. He said he had played doubles up until recently in his career, so he doesn’t see that being a difficult transition.
Tabor coach John Ruder was excited about the addition to Martin to his team.
“I saw him play last year and saw a lot of potential,” Ruder said. “When he visited, I got to know him as a young man and I thought he would be one who would fit in real good with the chemistry of our team.”
Ruder said he has a small squad, so the opportunity for Martin to play right away is virtually assured.
“I see him in the middle of the lineup, maybe higher depending how he does in the fall,” Ruder said.
Martin will major in journalism or English.