By Chris Whitfield
Four years ago, Drew Mosteller helped start the North Murray High School tennis program as the No. 1 singles player.
Now, Mosteller will help another fledgling program, signing Friday afternoon with Dalton State College, which will begin athletic competition in the 2013-2014 academic year.
“It is kind of weird to do this again, but I like it and I am proud to be part of North Murray’s first team and it starting up,” Mosteller said. “I think that it will be fun. Our team as a whole at North Murray came a long way. It built as we went along, and it was exciting. It gave me experience playing as a single going up against some of the best players in the state.”
One of the main reasons Mosteller picked the Roadrunners over other schools was his relationship with Dalton State director of tennis Michel Bates. Mosteller has played tennis since he was a seventh-grader, and as he got better and his skills developed, he started working privately with Bates. Also, Garrick Sanford, a former Murray County star who played for three years at Reinhardt University, recently joined the program, and he and Mosteller have a strong past as well.
“I have always been really close to Michel, and she has given me lessons for about four years,” Mosteller said. “I love her like she is part of my family. Garrick Sanford, he is like my big brother. It inspired me to go there, and he is the one that got me into tennis.”
Bates is happy to be getting Mosteller on campus.
“The fact that North Murray has just named their MVP award after him speaks volumes as far as his character,” Bates said in a release from the college. “I’m very excited for him. I think this is a great opportunity.”
Mosteller was the No. 1 singles player for the Mountaineers for the last four seasons and during that time he compiled a record of 43-11. Playing as the No. 1 player as a freshman and a sophomore had benefits for Mosteller as he matured.
“I really liked it and I knew that it would only make me better,” said Mosteller, who was also a shooting guard on the school’s state playoff basketball team. “It helped me learn to grow up a lot quicker and just being more complete with the way that I played.”
For North Murray coach Amanda Bynum, Mosteller was the centerpiece around which the program was built.
“Drew didn’t need much coaching during his high school career,” Bynum said. “But when he did, he was always responsive to everything I told him. Since his freshman year, he has been the backbone of both (boys and girls) teams. Win or lose, he always has a positive attitude.”
Mosteller chose the Roadrunners over Carson-Newman and Coker College.
“Probably around my freshman year I started thinking about playing in college because I would go to drills and people were telling me I could play in college if I worked hard,” he said. “Most of them told me to drop basketball and focus on tennis. But I didn’t want to give up basketball, and I am glad that I didn’t. Now, I can focus just on tennis.”