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Riley flying high after signing with MSU

South Point Lady Pointers’ senior tennis standout Madison Riley signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play at Morehead State University. Attending the ceremony were: seated from left to right, coach Julie Ditty, mother Kim Riley, Madison, father Eric Riley and sister Meredith Riley; standing from left to right, grandparents Gordon and Sandy Riley and grandparents Betty and Ron Cade, and coach Laurie Mercer. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

South Point Lady Pointers’ senior tennis standout Madison Riley signed a letter-of-intent on Wednesday to play at Morehead State University. Attending the ceremony were: seated from left to right, coach Julie Ditty, mother Kim Riley, Madison, father Eric Riley and sister Meredith Riley; standing from left to right, grandparents Gordon and Sandy Riley and grandparents Betty and Ron Cade, and coach Laurie Mercer. (Kent Sanborn of Southern Ohio Sports Photos)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

SOUTH POINT — Madison Riley wants her tennis career to soar, so becoming an Eagle at Morehead State gives her the best chance to spread her wings and fly.

The South Point Lady Pointers’ senior tennis standout opted for Morehead State over dozens of other schools who recruited her that included Eastern Illinois, Murray State and Missouri State.

“It was really close to home and I felt the program was really strong. I feel like I’ll grow a lot as a player and their academics are really good, too. I don’t know exactly what I want to major in, but their science programs are pretty good,” said Riley.

Riley won two regional titles and made three state tournament appearances. She won her first match in a state tournament this past season.

Her success in the high school tournaments as well as her club and AAU play caught the attention of Morehead State coach Kevin Fulton.

The Eagles were 11-10 last season against a tough schedule. Riley said the competition, the team and coaching all played into her decision.

“I feel like I had a pretty solid high school career, but I’m really excited to see my improvement when I get to college because I feel like I’ll have a lot more one-on-one with our coaches and I’ll have a team which I’ve never really had before so I feel like that’ll help me a lot,” said Riley.

Fulton signed some players who will arrive early in the spring but Riley will be the lone freshman joining the program next fall.

“I don’t know where I’ll fall in yet,” said Riley.

Although the competition gets tougher and she’ll be in an entirely different situation than high school, Riley is looking forward to the challenge.

“I feel like I’m more excited. I’m not really nervous a whole lot. I’m excited. It’s a step up,” said Riley.

The Eagles’ schedule includes Division I programs such as Evansville, Eastern Illinois, Eastern Kentucky, Xavier, Southern Illinois, several Big Ten schools, Marshall and their top rival Louisville.

Riley began playing tennis when she was 9 years old but she didn’t start playing tournament tennis until the following year.

“I was trying to figure out a sport I enjoyed. My mom had me try basketball and tumbling. I just really liked tennis,” said Riley.

Besides tennis, Riley also plays on the golf team and runs track. Riley said she uses golf as a stress relief.

“Golf is something I do just to take my mind off tennis. If I’m having a stressful week, I go play golf. It just calms me. And I just love running track,” said Riley.

Madison is the daughter of Kim and Eric Riley of South Point.