By Jon Gremmels
Herald Sports Editor
CAMANCHE — Chelsea Moore never considered being one of those tennis players who escapes the Midwest for Florida and trains full-time.
She has too much fun with friends and other sports around here.
After years of balancing volleyball, basketball and tennis — along with non-athletic endeavors — and rarely being able to fit in tennis matches in the offseason, the always-busy senior at Camanche High School will specialize when she goes off to college in the fall. She has decided Northern Iowa is the place to go to continue her tennis career and education. She has signed a national letter-of-intent and accepted a scholarship offer from UNI.
“It’s not like a big school, but it’s not like a small school, either,” she said recently. “It’s right in the middle.
“I went on a visit in the summer. Sometime during the volleyball season I thought I was going to go there.”
Moore, who also visited Iowa State and said she liked NCAA Division III Coe College in Cedar Rapids, too, plans to study physical therapy in college.
“After four years I’ll transfer somewhere like Iowa for two years in the physical therapy program,” she said. “I have gone to physical therapy and thought it was cool, helping people with athletic injuries and stuff.”
The Panthers are getting a talented tennis player who also had success on the volleyball and basketball courts. Moore won Iowa Class 1A singles state titles as a freshman and sophomore for the Indians before being derailed by Dubuque Wahlert’s Sarah Dalton in the championship match last spring. In a few weeks she will begin her quest for a third state title.
“I try not to think about (last year),” Moore said. “I didn’t play my best and she played well. It happens. I’ve got to go out and try to get over it. I’m just going to try to go out and play my best.”
At UNI she will join a program that has five consecutive winning seasons under coach Sachin Kirtane. The Panthers finished second in the Missouri Valley tournament last season and were fourth in the MVC in 2008.
Moore is used to winning. Besides her individual success, Camanche has placed second, first and third in the past three team state meets under coach Erin Montgomery.
Moore gets plenty of coaching, since her parents, David Moore and Cindy Rasche, are the coaches at Clinton High School.
“It’s kind of like three coaches,” she said, referring to Montgomery and her parents. Each parent helps her game in a different way, she said.
“My dad is a lot about technique and working out,” she said. “My mom is more like the mental part of it. They’re always there to support me.”
Although both parents are coaching their own teams during the spring season, it’s not uncommon to see one or both courtside. A traditionally strong team, Camanche often plays in tournaments in which Clinton is entered. Her mother has left the Clinton team on the second day of the state meet to watch her daughter play.
“It’s not so bad for Dad, but for Mom, when I play people from her team, I know deep down she wants me to win,” Moore said.
Still, she never has been a full-time tennis player.
“I love playing all three sports because it’s a change; volleyball is one of my favorite sports,” said Moore, who was a starter on Camanche’s volleyball team that advanced to the state tournament in the fall and is a starter in basketball, too. “It’s going to be weird (concentrating on tennis in college) because I’m so used to playing all three. I think if you play one sport a lot you get burned out.”
That’s one reason she never wanted to follow the path of many young standouts and head off to one of the tennis academies in Florida. Another reason was more overriding.
“You get letters from the academies when you play tournaments,” she said. “I never wanted to go there. I’m kind of social. I never would have left my family and friends.”
She knows that is about to change when she heads to Northern Iowa. For one thing, UNI plays both a fall and spring schedule.
“I’ll be practicing, probably a lot more,” she said. “If I practice hard and listen to my coach, it should help a lot.”
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