SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS: Bixby High School tennis players Chris Lane, left, and Easton Parker both signed letters of intent to play college tennis. Lane will play at Southwestern College in Kansas and Parker at Northeastern State University.
EMILY RAMSEY for GTR Newspapers
Bixby High School seniors Chris Lane and Easton Parker have both signed letters of intent to play college tennis.
Lane will play at Southwestern College in Kansas and Easton at Northeastern State University.
“In my 20 years of coaching in Oklahoma, I’ve seen very few students get that,” says Bixby High School tennis coach Jon Parker. “And I’ve never known a Bixby player to get that.
“For two players from Bixby to get that in one year, it’s a big deal.”
Growing up with her father as a coach, Easton picked up an athletic interest early in life.
“She used to play any sport I coached,” says Jon, “depending on what sport was in season.”
One of the sports that Jon has always coached is tennis. In fact, he played tennis at NSU. “For her to be going there, it’s special,” he says.
Out of all of the sports Easton played growing up, including basketball and softball, tennis proved to be her favorite because of the challenge it presents.
Tennis being a single-person sport, “you don’t have the team to pick you up,” says Easton. “You’ve got to do it yourself and control yourself from getting sad or angry.”
She plans to major in personal training and nutrition.
The mental component of the game is also what keeps Lane interested in the sport. “You have to deal with the emotional swings,” he says.
Jon cites Lane’s athleticism as another factor that allowed Lane to enter the team in his freshman year of high school and flourish, with no previous tennis experience. Lane was encouraged to try out for the team and quickly found that he liked the competition of the sport and the opportunity tennis offers to prove himself, he says.
Unlike team sports that Lane played, such as football and basketball, tennis provides players the ability to compete against themselves.
“I knew he’d be good for the team,” says Jon. “He grasped the fundamentals quickly and is competitive and driven. He did training on his own and did tournaments in the summer to improve.”
The fact that Lane received a tennis scholarship speaks volumes about his ability, says Jon. Because of the sport’s international popularity, colleges often look outside of the country for recruits, and for guys it’s an especially large pool of players.
Lane plans to pursue a degree in business administration.