When Dave and Heather Nicholas uprooted their family and relocated to Park City from Iowa, they had no idea what to expect or how it might change their lives. They hoped it would offer their children an environment that would inspire them every day in pursuit of their passions. Ten years later, they would say they are proud parents being inspired by their kids.
Hunter Nicholas grew up around a tennis court watching his mother teach the game for the past 20 years. He quickly developed a passionate interest in sports and competition. the time he moved to Park City at age 12, Hunter had competed regionally and nationally in roller hockey, ice hockey, baseball, basketball and tennis. After arriving in Park City, he rounded out his athletic pursuits by exploring football, soccer and golf.
As with most, there comes a time when an athlete looking to perform at the highest levels must narrow his or her sporting interests in order to focus and refine a specialized skill set and advance. For Hunter, this happened after his sophomore year at Park City High School when he won the 3A Singles Tennis Championship. Hunter realized this might just be something that could take him places.
"He had unbelievable athletic ability and his ability to make any shot from anywhere was a real gift. You knew he had it what it took from an early age to play big tennis," recalls Skosh Berwald, former assistant coach of the PCHS boys' tennis team.
This spring will mark Nicholas's final semester as a senior at San Diego State University, where he maintains a 3.5 GPA in environmental studies and geography while also serving as president of the SDSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the only tennis player to hold the position in school history. Those leadership qualities have translated to the tennis court as team captain playing #1 doubles and gaining All Mountain West honors for his first three seasons. Hunter has played top four singles and will play in either the #1 or #2 spot in his senior season.
"It has been such a great experience for me as a coach to see a kid come in with such raw talent and over the past four years watch him develop both those mental and physical talents into to something very special. Hunter has been a pleasure to work with and I am excited to see where he can go from here," said Gene Carswell, head coach of the SDSU men's tennis team.
Nicholas's experience, talent and connections with foreign teammates took him to Mannheim, Germany, this past summer, where he went undefeated in professional club tennis matches, a strategic step in pursuing competitive tennis beyond college. Hunter intends to return to Europe and compete internationally this summer after he and his SDSU teammates tackle his final season as an Aztec and hopes of competing in the NCAA Championships with a MWC Championship in April.
"You can see from how he works out here at the MARC," stated Michael O'Keefe, Tennis Director of the PC MARC. "Hunter's self-discipline, determination and drive to do everything as well as he can have been inspiring to watch for our young players. Hunter will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to."
Follow Hunter Nicholas and SDSU Aztec Men's Tennis at http://goaztecs.cstv.com/sports/m-tennis/sdsu-m-tennis-body.html .