Fort Mill Times

Young tennis star lighting up the circuit

Morgan Chumney, 14, won the 16 and under singles title at the Alabama State Hardcourt Championships. Up next is the Southern Closed Championships in Rome, Ga., June 22-28.
Morgan Chumney, 14, won the 16 and under singles title at the Alabama State Hardcourt Championships. Up next is the Southern Closed Championships in Rome, Ga., June 22-28.

After competing in tournaments as far away as Arizona and Texas, and matching up against international opponents from countries including France and Austria, one local tennis player has used that experience to win a singles title in an Alabama tournament and a doubles title in last week's Palmetto Tennis Championships.

Sounds like the resumé of an experienced professional.

Think again.

It's the way this summer has been going for 14-year-old Morgan Chumney, a rising freshman tennis player for Fort Mill High School.

Two weeks ago, Chumney took first pace in the 16-and-under singles competition at the Alabama State Hardcourt Championships in Birmingham, Ala., and followed it up last weekend with an appearance in the singles quarterfinals at the 53rd Wachovia Palmetto Championships in Belton.

"I like tennis because of the competition - I just like playing," Chumney said.

Chumney, along with Blythewood's Katie Fosnacht, also won first place in the doubles competition at the championships.

"We won most of the matches pretty easily. There were a few close ones, but we played really well," Chumney said.

She may be a soft-spoken teen who's about two months from her first year of high school, but Chumney is already listed as a five-star recruit on tennisrecruiting.net, ranked third in the state and among the top 40 in the Southeast. Chumney will compete on a public school team for the first time next season as a freshman at Fort Mill. She has been home-schooled through this year and said she thinks it has been beneficial for her athletic career.

"It's given me a better schedule. I train with my coach, I can focus on tennis and school and there are no schedule conflicts," she said. "But it will be fun to play on the Fort Mill team."

Since she began playing tennis at age 4, Chumney has built mountains of experience, traveling across the country to play in large tournaments, even international tournaments occasionally.

"It's been cool. I've had the chance to see a lot of new places," she said.

While playing in the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Championships in Bradenton, Fla., Chumney competed against players from Canada, Russia, Austria and France.

"Since they play on red clay, the girl from France had a lot of topspin on the ball. It was interesting," Chumney said.

Even though she is 14, Chumney typically competes in the 16-and-under age group.

"As long as you qualify, you can compete against older players," she said. "It's better players and better experience."

Although she still has four years of high school tennis left to play, Chumney said she hopes to keep playing all the way through college and is eyeing programs including the University of Alabama and University of North Carolina.

"I want to go to a highly ranked college team. I'll wait and see what happens, but I definitely want to play in college."

The next event for Chumney is the Southern Closed Championships in Rome, Ga., June 22-28, where she will represent South Carolina in singles and doubles events after qualifying in last week's Palmetto Championships.

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