RONDA — ShaNisha White will take her considerable athletic talents just down the road to Pfeiffer University.
It’s not for basketball as White thought it would be when she came to East Wilkes High School as a freshman four years ago, but for tennis — a sport she learned and excelled at during the past four years.
“I knew her from basketball,” East Wilkes tennis coach Aaron Simmons said. “I all but begged her to play.
“She’s been incredible for us for so long.”
“Coach Simmons is an awesome coach,” White said. “I was terrible at the beginning. He did a complete 180 with me.”
White was top-six as a sophomore; No. 2 as a junior; and moved into the No. 1 role her senior year.
“She is one of the most competitively humble people I’ve ever met,” Simmons said. “She doesn’t believe she’s good at this game. But when the game is on, there’s no one more competitive and no one who has a stronger will to win.”
She said she didn’t think she was good enough to play tennis in college until midway through her senior season. “I always wanted to play basketball,” she said. “I started getting a little better. I thought maybe I could play tennis in college.”
White said she likes the size of Pfieffer’s campus. The school has less than 2,000 enrolled at its Misenheimer campus. “It’s kind of like home,” White said. “The coach is real nice, too. He puts me in the mind of Simmons.”
Pfeiffer, which competes as an NCAA Division II school, won a school-record 19 matches this past season.
“She’s going to a very good program,” Simmons said.
One trait White will bring to the Falcons is leadership. If she can’t be a leader right away, she’ll do her part to instill camaraderie.
“She’s one of those inclusive teammates,” Simmons said. “She doesn’t care if you are a freshman, sophomore, popular, not popular. She’s one of the friendliest people I’ve ever known. She brought everyone together. She is a wonderful human being.”
“God has blessed me with a talent to help pay for college,” White said. “I thank Coach Simmons for helping me, supporting me and I think my family, too.”
White plans to study nursing and hopes to be a neonatal nurse one day.
White is the daughter of Larry White and Portia Hayes.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-258-4052 or Twitter @elkinareasports.