WHEELERSBURG — For Maddie Gill, at least she is already accustomed to wearing Orange and Black.
Hence, she shouldn’t have to make too many wardrobe adjustments when she goes off to college in August — and she shouldn’t have to make too many adjustments to her already outstanding tennis game.
That’s because Gill —the Wheelersburg High School girls tennis standout and four-time state tournament qualifier including individually in her senior season —made it official on sunny Sunday inside the confines of the Pirates’ outdoor courts, when she announced her intention to play collegiate tennis at Georgetown College.
Gill verbally committed to Georgetown during her senior season last fall, and joins the Tigers’ program under decade-long head coach Jessica Cunningham.
She was flanked at her signing ceremony by her parents Ben and Toni Gill, brother Brady Gill, her tennis coaches at Wheelersburg, and several family members and friends.
Georgetown College is located in Georgetown, Ky. —and like rival Shawnee State University is a member of the Mid-South Conference and the NAIA.
Gill said she “loves everything about” Georgetown, and “how they focus on both academics and athletics” appealed to her.
The college is located “almost exactly” two hours away from Wheelersburg.
“I just love the school and everything about it,” said Gill. “I had contacted some colleges about playing tennis, and Georgetown got right back with me and said they wanted to meet with me and wanted to watch me play. Eventually, I ended up getting a scholarship.”
Gill can play both singles and doubles —so that transition to the Tigers should be considerably smooth.
Just how good is Gill at tennis —either flying solo as a senior or teaming with Wheelersburg graduate Kaitlyn Sommer for her first three seasons?
All she and Sommer did was qualify for the Division II state tournament in all three years — capturing the Division II Southeast-East District tournament championship in Gill’s sophomore and junior campaigns, following the duo’s district runner-up effort in her freshman year.
She lost only one regular-season match in her entire four-year Lady Pirate career, and easily was selected as the Southern Ohio Conference Player of the Year as a senior.
The top two placers, both doubles and singles, from the annual Southeast-East District tournament qualify for the state, of which the only individual to defeat Gill all season (2020) was the sectional AND district champion —freshman Meredith Riley of South Point.
No doubt, and as the accomplishments board at the Pirates’ courts clearly displays, Gill is one of the all-time Wheelersburg tennis bests.
“It was great. I always had my family and friends supporting me at all of my matches. I’ve played for forever, so it was just great to keep playing in high school and continuing on into college now,” she said.
“I don’t know that we can measure how much Maddie has meant to the Wheelersburg tennis program. She became a familiar face over four years at the state tournament, and that’s awesome. She’s worked hard on her own game for so long, and she has also been a great role model for all the other kids who have come up through. She’s helped them learn, she spends extra time hitting with them, there’s just an enormous amount of things she’s done for us,” said Wheelersburg girls tennis head coach Jodi Wright. “She is definitely one of the greats here.”
Gill — who started playing tennis at the astonishing young age of five — discussed the differences between competing as a singles and doubles player.
Specifically, playing with Sommer so long.
“When you have a doubles partner, you have somebody out there with you to help motivate you. Kaitlyn and I played tennis together forever too. We probably started playing together when we were 10 and 11,” said Gill. “This past year, playing singles at first was kind of stressful. I had always played doubles in the tournament with Kaitlyn, and I was just a little bit nervous. Once I started playing (singles), I became more and more excited and I was just ready to go. I still need to work on being more consistent with my shots. It doesn’t matter how hard I hit the ball, I just need to get them in the court.”
Wright worries not about what Gill will, and should, be able to accomplish at the next level.
“I think she is going to do great things at Georgetown and she will definitely be a big asset to their program,” said the coach. “She loves tennis and it shows. She is going to be positive and a great team player, doubles or singles. I can only see good things for her college career all the way through there.”
And, it’s already under way with Gill being accustomed to donning outfits of Orange and Black.
Gill said she plans to major in either Pre-Med or Biology.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved