Excel tennis player Simon Morris is the midst of his senior year on the tennis court and is hoping to have a strong year on the No. 2 singles line for the Eagles.
His final match for Excel will not be his last, however, as he will play for Berry College during a ceremony at Excel Christian Academy Wednesday.
“It’s a small school. The class size is small, and it’s like Excel,” Morris said of his college decision. “It’s a good opportunity to go there. I really like the school and it feels like home there.”
Berry College is an NCAA Division III school in the Southern Athletic Association, and the Vikings are beginning the 2016 spring season after a 9-5 season last year.
“All their team is very strong, so hopefully, I’ll find some good competition out there,” Morris said. “As a freshman, I want to try to play and be in the top six, and just to be at home and have fun out there.”
Morris has attended Excel Christian Academy since the fourth grade, and has been a valuable member of the Eagles’ tennis team all four years of his career at the high school level. He played No. 3 singles as a freshman and sophomore, compiling a 9-6 record each year.
He began the season as the No. 1 singles player last year, but an injury held him out of action in all but three matches.
“I had some good years,” Morris said. “Last year, I was 2-1 because I was injured most of the season. I had an achilles injury. It was like to the point of tearing, but it didn’t tear.”
Morris was injured after the first two matches of the season, but was able to complete the rehab process in time to ply the final match of the year.
The achilles injury last season was not the first time Morris had to overcome an injury to return to the court.
“It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be because I’ve had stress fractures in my back before,” he said. “It wasn’t as hard as coming back from that.”
Morris is happy to be back on the courts for his senior season.
“Hopefully, I can win every match, just try to do my best every match and have fun,” he said.
“He’s going to play No. 1 singles and kind of be our ace in the hole and somebody we depend on,” Excel tennis coach Matt Sanders said. “Simon is definitely one of our high-level players. He’s definitely someone we can count on and carry the banner for Excel on the tennis circuit. He’s a veteran player. He knows the ins and outs of it. He knows the ropes and how everything works in the county and in the region and whatnot. So he’s really going to be somebody we look to from a leadership standpoint on and off the court.”
Despite the injury as a junior, Morris still has some fond memories from his first two years of playing tennis for Excel.
“My freshman year, I had a three-hour match against Cass, and I won that match,” Morris said. “That was probably one of the highlights of my career because it was my great-grandma’s birthday on that day. She turned 98. ... I think it was 6-3, 2-6 and 10-8 in the tiebreak.”
Looking forward to his future at Berry, Morris has as ambitious of goals off the court as he does on it.
“My goals are to major in biology,” he said. “I want to go to medical school after the four years. I think the education is at a very high level over there.”
“He’s a high-character student. He’s a high-academic student,” Sanders said of Morris. “In the hallways amongst his classmates and teachers, they have a high level of respect. He carries himself as a great young man. We enjoy him representing Excel, not just the tennis program, but Excel as a school.”