In an application process that took about six months to complete, Mary Meyers breathed a sigh of relief when she turned in her completed papers to the Air Force Academy in February.
A few weeks later, when Coach Kim Gidley called to say that she had been accepted, Meyers tried to contain her excitement, and her usual gregarious self was left almost speechless. She could only tell the bearer of good news, "Oh my God, thank you very much!"
The five-star recruit from Shreveport, Louisiana, knew very little about military life until Coach Gidley sent her recruitment brochures.
"No way am I a military girl," the bemused senior initially thought. "I like to wear dresses, and I couldn't picture myself doing that lifestyle. One day I read one of the packets the Academy sent and I saw what all it had to offer, and I kinda started seeing the whole concept. That kind of education would be good because it wasn't just tennis or academics. It's discovering who you are through all the different stuff they do with you. You are doing a military life and you are taking extremely hard classes and the different aspects of life that they give you. You learn to fly; you need to parachute out of an airplane. Now, where else can you do that? At the Air Force Academy, I'm going to be more than a tennis player."
To kick off her college career, she will be in Colorado in late June to begin a six-week basic military training course.
Air Force Academy Coach Gidley had her eye on Meyers after she saw the young 15 year old compete at the Intersectional Team Championships. Meyers' participation was accidental: her hometown hosts the annual event and Team Hawaii was missing a member. The organizers didn't have to ask her twice as Meyers jumped at the opportunity to test her skills against the top players in the country. Fortune does favor those prepared for it, and in her case, Meyers won seven of her matches for Hawaii and gave Coach Gidley a good sense of what she's like as a player.
"I didn't realize how defining that week of tennis was going to be for me," Meyers said.
Story Provided by: Tennis Recruiting Network