ELLINWOOD — Bailey Schartz, a senior at Ellinwood High School, signed a letter of intent to play tennis for Washburn University in Topeka.
Schartz, who helped lead the Lady Eagles to a Class 3-1A state championship last fall, said that several things factored in her decision to go to the four-year institution.
“I was looking to play tennis and I was looking at four-year colleges,” Schartz said. “Washburn was there. It came down to Washburn or Barton, and I wanted to get away to a four-year college, so Washburn fit that. I like the coach, and I love the campus.”
On top of that, she said Washburn, an NCAA Division-II school, had her major of choice.
“They have the major that I’m interested in, nursing,” Schartz said. “They have a really good nursing program up there, so it fits really well.”
Schartz said that Bethany, Bethel and Barton also recruited her.
Ellinwood head coach Lyle Stickney, who has coached Schartz since middle school, said that Washburn head coach Dave Alden was getting a hard worker.
“Bailey’s very, very talented,” Stickney said. “She’s a hard worker, very dedicated. I’ve had her since she was probably 11 or 12 years old in our middle school and then our high school program. She became almost a bit of a pest, but the pest you like because she’s always on the phone. Always trying to get you out there to hit balls with her.
“She is a glutton for tennis instruction. I fed her basket after basket of balls in practice.”
The Lady Eagles won the first state championship at Ellinwood since 1967, when the cross country team won.
“It’s incredible,” Schartz said of being a state champion. “It’s just like what everyone dreams of. It’s a dream come true.”
Schartz paired with Darrien Beckwith to finish as the state runner-up in doubles competition. Schartz finished fourth at state in the doubles competition the year before with partner Michelle Miller.
Schartz has played both singles and doubles at Ellinwood.
“I prefer singles because I like to be able to be in charge and do it all myself,” Schartz said. “I like doubles, too, but if I had to pick, I would pick singles.”
Schartz holds a few Ellinwood tennis records.
“She was a four-year letterman on varsity,” Stickney said. “She holds the record in the school for most career wins, the highest percentage of wins and the most state appearances.”
In high school, Schartz learned to overcome adversity, suffering a couple of injuries.
“The only knock on her was she had a difficult time staying healthy,” Stickney said. “She had a knee injury and foot injuries. She had surgery in the offseason twice on her feet. She blew out (the anterior cruciate ligament in her knee) in basketball and made it back to compete the next fall. Just a great attitude and a fierce competitor.”
Schartz was able to come back from both injuries to compete in the next season.
“I have a drive to be the best that I could be,” Schartz said. “I just wanted to get better and get back to my level of play.”