By Tiffany Doolittle for MSNsportsNET.com
November 13, 2009
||Coach Marc Walters||
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University tennis coach Marc Walters announced today the addition of three student-athletes to the 2010-11 team.
The future Mountaineers joining the program are Alexandra Bush (Parkersburg, W.Va.), Mary Chupa (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) and Melis Tanik (Raleigh, N.C.).
“We are truly excited to have such solid student-athletes and talented players joining our program,” says Walters. “Their combined experience and exposure on a national level is such that we should see immediate contributions from each young lady next year, and take the level of the program up a notch.”
Bush, a native of Parkersburg, W.Va., was a three-year first team all-state and all-conference selection and No. 1 seed singles champion. Bush is currently a senior at Parkersburg High and is a captain for the second year under coach Pam Reeves. Bush is currently the No. 1 recruit in West Virginia and a 4-star recruit according to TennisRecruiting.net.
In doubles competition, Bush is a two-time gold ball winner at the National Hard Court Championships, a silver ball finisher at the National Open Championships and the National Clay Court bronze ball winner in the doubles competition.
Her individual titles include a first-place finish at the National Open, a bronze ball win at the National Clay Courts and a fourth and fifth place finish at the National Hard Courts.
Bush also was a member of Parkersburg High’s soccer program that won the 2006 state championships, and was named all-state in 2007. She also participated in cheerleading and numerous school organizations, as well as maintaining a high GPA.
“To have a commitment from the top West Virginia player is a great get for us, and it speaks very well of the girls we have here right now,” says Walters. “There aren’t that many players that are walking around that possess USTA gold balls, so that already puts her with some elite company. I know Alex has unlimited potential based on her national success in the early age groups, and I am looking forward to seeing her apply her superior athleticism to her skills on court next year."
Chupa, who currently plays for coach Brian McAllister at Manatee High, has a singles record of 63-6, including a 2008 team Michigan state championship at Grosse Pointe South High/Bradenton Academy.
She was the doubles semifinalist in the 2008 Summer Smash Regional Tournament in Delray Beach, Fla. She was also a Michigan High School State Championship finalist in No. 2 singles, the singles and doubles champion in the Court One Memorial Tournament and a singles and doubles champion in the Wisconsin Indoor Championships in 2008.
In 2006, Chupa won the Florida State Closed Singles Championship, as well as her doubles team placing fourth in the National Clay Courts Championships.
Chupa has been a member of various school clubs and has maintained a high GPA throughout high school. She also was on Michigan’s all-state team in 2008.
“Coming from a strong tennis family, as her two sisters are currently top-ranked national players, she has had extensive experience within the junior national circuit,” Walters says. “Best of all, Mary’s game has been groomed for both in-door power and out-door finesse which makes her a great fit for the variety of play our team sees during the season. Her enthusiasm and her immediate connection to her future teammates is a great indication of the commitment she’s ready to make to improve our team.”
Tanik, a three-time all-state and all-conference selection, she is currently a senior at Ravenscroft High where she led her team to the 2008 state championship and the 2009 TISAC Conference title.
“We’ve been watching Melis for the better part of the last year and have seen nothing but steady improvement physically and in her game,” Walters says. “At 5-10 she moves like players a foot shorter and has really worked on her core strength and athleticism. She hasn’t lost to a lower ranked player in close to 18 months. I’m excited to see how high her ceiling will be. The South was very deep talent-wise the past three years so I know Melis will be coming in having seen solid competition and be ready to grind out big matches for us.”
Under the tutelage of coach Dan Johnson and her father, Onder, Tanik reached a career-high No. 2 state ranking on TennisRecruiting.com, on which she is currently ranked fifth. She is ranked No. 40 in the region and No. 168 in the nation, and has continued to climb throughout the season.
“All three young ladies have held four-star ratings in the national recruiter's rankings and each has displayed exceptional athletic skills to go with their tennis ability,” says Walters. “This bodes well for their continued development at this level while we build the team from within.”