PILOT MOUNTAIN — For the last two seasons, Daniel Hancock has had quite a thankless challenge, playing as the No. 1 singles player for East Surry High School in a power-packed Northwest 1A Conference.
But the senior wouldn’t have it any other way, and the tough competition he faced with the Cardinals should serve him well as he continues his tennis career at the next level.
In a ceremony at the school on April 15, Hancock announced that he will play collegiate tennis for the College of New Rochelle, an NCAA Division III school located about 20 minutes outside of New York City. The announcement sends him farther from home than any of the other recent signees from local schools, but Hancock believes he found the right fit to fulfill his dream of playing collegiately.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in college. I’ve been training for this since the fifth grade,” he said. “It’s a great school with great academics and great athletics, and just going up there, there was this kind of feel that every athlete there wanted to win and trained to win. That’s the kind of environment I wanted to be around.”
Hancock said that coaches at CNR initiated contact with him, and that things moved forward from there.
“The found out about me,” he said. “Their coach called me in December and talked to me about playing for them. He came to a match and got some film of me, and from there, it was a connection.”
He said that he will major in either journalism or business in college, and that earning all-conference honors in 2015, along with being team captain and the No. 1 seed are the highlights of his time playing for the Cardinals.
“I’d like to thank my coaches Lyndsey Haywood, Caleb Gilley and Brandon Cook, and my private coach, Steve Collins of Avalon Tennis, for all supporting me and helping me to reach my goal,” he said.
“We’re very proud of him, it’s a big step going that far off,” said father Vince Hancock. “It’s a big commitment and we know he will work hard.”
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.