Owls senior to play for Marian

Seymour senior Emma Wood will bring her tennis talents to Marian University next fall.

Surround-ed by friends and family, Wood signed to the NAIA, Indiana-polis-based college’s womens’ tennis team Tuesday afternoon.

During the past two and one-half years, Wood has amassed a record of 60-5 playing for the Owls.

This past spring, Wood made it all the way to the IHSAA’s doubles state championship final four with teammate Karen Dringenburg.

Wood will join a highly competitive Knights team that just finished as runners-up in the 2015 Crossroads League Tournament.

Eighth-year Marian coach Cassie Mackell said that she met Wood through travel tournaments and watched her play at the state championships hosted by Park Tudor.

“I had been following her through some USTA tournaments in the off season and that’s how she got on my radar,” Mackell said. “I don’t always like to peg where someone will fit, but we always go after girls that can play in the lineup. I’m excited about Emma because she has the drive to keep getting better and a passion for tennis.”

Mackell said that Wood has a passion for the game and knows how to play intelligent tennis.

“Her strategy thinking, thinking through points, she finds ways to win,” she said.

“She’s a grinder and will be out there as long as it takes to win a match. As a college coach, that’s what you look for.”

The Knights are losing three seniors this upcoming spring and have signed three freshman to join for the 2016-17 school year.

Wood first visited the campus this past spring.

“We did some research on colleges, and I loved (coach Mackell) from the first time I met her,” Wood said.

“I went to a match on my visit and met some of the girls and watched them play. I’m really hoping to be a part of one of the doubles teams. I’m going to work my hardest to get a spot.”

During that visit, Mackell’s Knights helped determine if Wood with fit in with the team.

“When (Wood) came for a visit last spring, the girls really liked her which is important,” Mackell said. “I kind of have my girls help filter people out. They absolutely loved Emma, so that was a green light for me.”

Wood said that her competitive nature helped push her decision to play tennis in college.

“I love how competitive college tennis is, you can’t just hit one shot and think you’ve won the point,” Wood said. “You have to move a lot and work hard. I’m really hoping to be a part of one of the doubles teams.”

In collegiate tennis, seven points are played opposed to five in high school, so Wood will play both singles and doubles for the Knights.

“I feel like Emma is a very strong singles and doubles player,” Owls co-coach Jennifer Miller said. “She’s comfortable in both roles and that’s a huge advantage. She has a really strong knowledge of the game, reading and breaking down opponents’ weaknesses and succeeding.”

Miller said that Wood’s determination will translate to the next level.

“Emma is one of the hardest-working kids that I know,” Miller said. “She had a pretty serious injury last winter that took her out for the first part of the season. She worked really hard to come back and be ahead of the game to come back sooner. It says a lot about her character. She’s a team player and is committed and has been a real pleasure to work with.”

At Marian, Wood said she plans to study elementary education.

Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.