James Rodriguez only started playing tennis six years ago, and he quickly developed a deep passion for the sport.
He began spending countless hours on the court to improve his skills. When Rodriguez reached high school, he earned a spot on C.B. Aycock’s tennis team as a freshman.
And his prep career slowly blossomed each year, and it took a new direction on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s pretty crazy because this isn’t something I expected to get to, but I’m really happy with how hard I’ve worked during the past six years,” Rodriguez said. “I can’t believe I got to a DII college with it.”
Rodriguez signed a national letter of intent to play tennis next season at Barton College. He was drawn to Barton because of his familiarity with Barton head coach Lee Underwood.
“I always play at Lake Wilson Tennis Club, and coach Underwood is always there, and he started to communicate with me, and then I applied, and he really helped me,” Rodriguez said. “Without him, I might not have gotten into the school. He’s done so much for me.”
Rodriguez played the No. 1 seed for the C.B. Aycock the past few seasons, and he is a strong player whose style of play will be a good fit for the Bulldogs’ program.
“It’s been awesome playing at C.B. Aycock. The coaches are great, and the team is always fun,” Rodriguez said. “This year, we sadly only have four players, but we’re making it work, and we’re all having fun, so I’m proud of us.”
Outside of playing tennis at school, Rodriguez, who plans to plans to major in business management, and minor in sports management, has also gained considerable experience in playing at the Lake Wilson Tennis Club.
“I’m actually going to work there, so it’ll be nice going to college right next to it,” Rodriguez.