- Top 150 in the Midwest
- Top 15 in West Michigan
The last player from West Ottawa to get inside the top 150 in the Midwest was Nick Schnobel 3 years ago. He is now playing Division 1 Tennis at Western Michigan University.
I should use this opportunity to add that Jireh is not alone in her progress right now. There are SEVERAL players at the middle school and high school who are making huge gains in their game and USTA rankings. For example, Kennedy Dumas, an 8th grader, has beaten this Spring's Varsity #1 singles player for Grandville, #4 singles player for Holland Christian, #2 singles player for Holland, and the #1 doubles player for Grand Haven in USTA play...just in the last 6 months. Our players are on a tear!!! Participation at the clubs is at an all time high. Participation in USTA is very strong. The results of players on our Varsity, JV, and Middle School teams is outstanding right now.
So thanks to everyone who is working so hard, and a special congratulations to Jireh on her incredible accomplishment. Keep it up everyone!
*I choose to recognize top 15 players in West Michigan because players who achieve this ranking are usually amongst the top high school singles players in the area. Current examples of this are Chloe Karp and Kayla Lebster. They have achieved this ranking, they play 1 and 2 singles for our Varsity Girls team, and they are amongst the best high school player in the area. Mark Vanderstoep achieved this a couple years ago also, and he is currently starting for Hope College. Chloe and Kayla are on paths to play college tennis as well if they keep working hard, as are many others in our program.
* I choose to recognize top 150 players in the Midwest because this is when players will start attracting attention from Division 1 and 2 Coaches, provided they can maintain that ranking into the older age divisions. Very few players get to this point. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of talent, but you have to be dedicated to playing tournaments regularly, often traveling distances to compete in them. I believe Jireh has played in about 17 tournaments in the past 8 months...about one every two weeks. Think about that!!! A Midwest top 100 ranking more than just a reflection of her talent. It also reflects a time sacrifice by both her and her parents to spend their weekends traveling to compete against the Midwest's best players. My bet is that the Warren's ultimately enjoy this process, but we all know that difficult things involve a lot of sacrifice too. I sure do appreciate all players and families in this community who make this kind of commitment. It's inspiring to be around all of you players who aren't afraid to set high goals and put in the work it takes to get there. Really inspiring.