By David Fong
TROY — Shortly after saying “yes” to the University of Findlay, Hannah Essick said, “yes” to Sam Coleman.
Wednesday was a whirlwind day for the Troy High School senior, who first signed her national letter of intent to play tennis at the University of Findlay and then, moments later, accepted a “prom-posal” from Coleman, who presented her with a “glass slipper” on a red pillow.
The prom-posal seemed rather symbolic, because much like Cinderella’s slipper, the University of Findlay was a perfect fit for the Trojan tennis standout.
“Findlay was my first pick the entire time,” Essick said. “I liked the size of the campus, I liked the area, I liked the coach and I liked some of the people I met on the team. I looked at some other places, but I always knew I wanted to go to Findlay.”
Essick was a three-time sectional champion for Troy, winning a pair of doubles titles with partner Maggie Hennessy and then capturing her first sectional title as a singles player last fall. Last fall, she also was named first-team All-Greater Western Ohio Conference American League. As a junior, she was the GWOC North Athlete of the Year, an overall All-GWOC selection and first-team All-GWOC North Division. She also was named first-team All-GWOC North as both a sophomore and freshman.
“One of the first things you notice about Hannah is her consistency,” Troy tennis coach Mark Goldner said. “She’s a very consistent player. She’s also learned to hit the ball hard over the years. The ball really is in her court how good she wants to be in college. She can be a very good college tennis player.”
Just by becoming a college tennis player at all, Goldner said Essick is joining a relatively select group, as very few Trojan tennis players have gone to play at the college level. Essick will be the first girls player to play collegiately under Goldner, who has coached the Troy girls the past 10 years and the Troy boys the past four decades.
Essick said she brings certain strengths to the Findlay program, but knows there are elements of her game she’ll have to work on to get ready for the college game, as well.
“I definitely need to work on my foot speed,” she said. “I hit the ball really hard, but I need to work on getting there quicker.”
As her high school career winds down and Essick experiences things like the aforementioned prom date and marching at graduation, she said she’s still looking forward to playing college tennis.
“I’m excited to go play tennis at Findlay,” she said.
Contact David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong