Nov. 15, 2011
LEXINGTON, Ky. - Beck Pennington, who is ranked as the No. 1 high school player in the state of Kentucky and No. 53 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play tennis at the University of Kentucky, UK head coach Dennis Emery and associate head coach Cedric Kauffmann announced Tuesday.
"We targeted Beck early in the recruiting process because of his overall athletic ability and because we felt he was a character guy," said Emery, who is entering his 30th season as head coach of the Wildcats. "Those things make him a perfect fit for our program. For the last three years, Beck has worked with one of the truly great minds in tennis, Bill Tym from Nashville. We hope to be able to build on the foundation Bill has worked so hard to provide."
The native of Bowling Green, Ky., has had a fantastic high school tennis career while attending Greenwood High School. Pennington, who is a four-year member of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association All-State team, won the KHSAA Singles Championship in 2011. Pennington was also a singles semifinalist at the event as a sophomore, while he was a doubles semifinalist as a freshman and went to the doubles quarterfinals as an eighth grader. Pennington has also been honored as academic all-state honorable mention.
"I am really excited to work with Beck when he gets on campus next year," Kauffmann said. "I expect very good things from him as a player, because he has great athleticism, a tireless work ethic and comes from a very positive environment established by his family. I am happy that he decided to join our Wildcat family."
Pennington has had impressive results in junior tennis tournaments the past few seasons, reaching the singles and doubles finals at the United States Tennis Association Regional under-18 event. Pennington is ranked fifth in the southern region by the USTA after claiming both singles and doubles titles at the USTA Bullfrog event last fall and playing in the finals of the Winter Southern Closed event in 2010. Pennington was also the 2011 Creason State Qualifier Champion.
Pennington is a five-star recruit by tennisrecruiting.net and earned the distinguished honor of 2011 USTA Junior Player of the Year by the USTA Southern Kentucky. He will be recognized for the award in January.
"One of our recruiting goals is to always get the best player in the state of Kentucky," Emery said. "On our current 11-man roster, four are in-state players. I just think that playing for UK is always special for these players."
Kentucky is coming off one of the best fall seasons in recent school history, with several Wildcats competing well in regional and national tournaments. Seniors Eric Quigley and Alex Musialek paced the Wildcats with appearances in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-American Championships and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships. Quigley ended the fall with a 19-4 record, while Musialek was 11-4. Junior Anthony Rossi claimed the Duke Fab Four Invite singles title to end the fall with a 10-2 record, while sophomore Alejandro Gomez went 15-2 en route to claiming the Southern Intercollegiate Division II singles title.
The Wildcats will not compete for the next month and a half, but will return to the courts in early January when they travel to Honolulu, Hawaii for the Hawaii Warrior Invitational.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, follow "UKmenstennis" on Twitter or "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook. For the most up-to-date information on UK men's tennis, visit UKathletics.com.