Logan High School’s Lauren Chambers is carrying on the tradition.
She’s the latest former Wildcats’ tennis athlete to sign to play for a college team.
Chambers inked a national letter of intent on Wednesday to play tennis at Division II West Virginia State.
Chambers, who was Logan’s No. 1 singles player all four years at LHS, joins Logan teammate Keith Williamson who had signed earlier to play at the University of Charleston.
For Logan tennis coach Justin Turner it’s the fifth player he’s had to sign at the collegiate level in the last five years.
“Lauren’s choices were between West Virginia State and the University of Pikeville,” Turner said. “The first year we had A’Lee Miller sign with State. The third year Rebecca Canterbury signed with Davis & Elkins. The fourth year Zack Hatfield signed. And now, this year Keith Williamson and Lauren Chambers have signed.”
Chambers said she wants to study biology at WV State and is eager to go.
“I’m happy to be on the team and happy to be a part of the West Virginia State athletics family. I’ve been playing tennis since the seventh grade and I’ve been training a lot and playing a lot to get ready for the season,” Chambers said.
Logan assistant coach Cherith Altizer, a former University of Charleston tennis player like Turner, said it’s every coach’s goal to see as many players as possible get a scholarship to further their education.
“It’s great and that’s the goal,” Altizer said. “It’s the goal of every coach to help the players get scholarships in order to pay for their education. Lauren is a tough competitor and always hits the ball well with good strokes. She has a good backhand and a good forehand and has a complete game.”
Turner said Chambers has improved her game a lot over the years.
“She started in our summer tennis camps just like a lot of other kids did during middle school,” he said. “She continued to grow, play tournaments and improve. She is probably one of the most in shape female athletes we have coached at LHS. What everyone needs to recognize is that tennis is a lifelong sport. It’s something you can play and have fun. Several players from LHS have went on to play at the collegiate level.”
Chambers advanced to play in the Class AAA state tennis tournament all four years at Logan. Her freshman year she made it all the way to the state semifinals in No. 1 girls’ singles. Her sophomore, junior and senior years she advanced to the second round.
This year, Chambers won the Wendy’s High School Heisman Award at LHS and was nominated for the national award. She was also honored with the WVSSAC Sportsmanship Award.
“She’s a really great athlete,” Turner said. “She played a lot of sports growing up — tennis, basketball, softball, volleyball, track and cross country. She had to make a decision.”
Chambers heads to West Virginia State, a school steeped in women’s tennis tradition.
WVSU has had at least one NCAA Tournament qualifer the last six years and were conference champions in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2013.
With the breakup of the WVIAC last year, West Virginia State now plays in the Mountain East Conference, a league which spans Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia.
Turner said he hopes tennis continues to grow in Logan County. The indoor courts at the Chief Logan Rec Center and the summer programs have certainly helped.
“The great thing is most of these players come back and help with summer camps or give lessons to the younger kids in the area,” Turner said. “Chris Kidd, for instance, is doing a great job with the summer league in Chapmanville and the program down there. Brian Kidd at Logan Middle is doing a great job in as the coach at Logan Middle. It takes the summer camps and the middle school feeder programs to go out and compete. It’s exciting to see them as young kids and working their way up through the program, but sad to see them leave. When you see them grow up into young men and women it makes it worth it. Not only have we had great tennis players but these are student athletes — they excel in school just as much as sports and have great morals.”
The Logan High School tennis team, along with the West Virginia Freedom Festival, will host the “Firecracker Kids Tennis Camp” on Saturday, July 5 from 6-9 p.m. on the LHS Tennis Courts.
The cost will be $20 per camper and the ages are 4-14.
Each camper will receive a T-shirt, prize and food.
Plus, you can sit under the stars and watch the fireworks from the tennis courts.
To register please call Justin Turner at (304) 687-7769 or Cherith Altizer at (304) 687-7727. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.