The halls of Coronado High School are littered with college banners and suggest there’s a college for everyone if they’ll put the work whether it be academically, athletically or both.
Star tennis players Kate McGough and Quentin Scharfenberg secured their own college futures Tuesday by signing National Letters of Intent with Rhodes College and Midwestern State, respectively. They’re the first top players on the girls and boys side to sign in the same year in more than a decade.
“They’re just great, hard workers,” coach David Denham said during the signing ceremony in Coronado’s cafeteria. “They earned all of this, and that’s what’s so fun about this.”
Academics were the top priority for McGough. She turned down Carleton in Minnesota and Grinnell in Iowa to join Rhodes in Memphis, Tennessee. Rhodes competes at the NCAA Division III level.
Midwestern State at the Division II level attracted Scharfenberg because his sister, Payton, played for the program after a successful four-sport career at Coronado.
Both players will finish their Coronado careers this spring — the individuals season as opposed to the team fall season — as four-year contributors to the varsity team.
Scharfenberg and doubles partner Andy Axton went to the Class 5A state semifinal round at the state tournament and are in the first breath of potential teams to win the state championship this season.
McGough also has a good track record as a doubles player.
“It looks like as a freshman that I’ll have a chance to play in the lineup, which is an amazing opportunity,” McGough said. “Especially as a freshman. I’m just really looking to help boost the team not only athletically but be a source of positivity.”
Rhodes is coming off a 6-14 season.
Both schools offer players attractive travel opportunities, especially before conference play begins.
The 2017-2018 Rhodes women’s team will visit Orlando and plans similar trips each season.
Midwestern State’s men’s team opened its past season at TCU and visited Pensacola, Florida. It went 14-11 through the campaign under coach Larry Wiggins and has not finalized its 2018 spring schedule.
McGough and Scharfenberg will be back in action in the spring semester before calling it a career at Coronado. The postseason begins in April and the state tournament is scheduled for May 17 and 18.
“Kate and I have been on the varsity team four years together,” Scharfenberg said. “We’ve become very close as friends. It’s really cool to be able to sign with a good friend of mine, and we can both continue our dreams of playing tennis.”