Gering’s Mark Karpf and Dyson Dollarhide will continue playing together another four years on the tennis courts after signing with Midland University in Fremont Monday.
Karpf and Dollarhide, in signing their letter of intents in front of family and friends in the GHS media center, also became the first Gering tennis players to sign to play tennis in college.
Both are thrilled with the opportunity to continue playing at the collegiate level at Midland.
“I really liked the program there and the team culture with the players, the coach,and everything there fits perfect for me,” Karpf said. “It will be fun, I think. It is nice to meet new people but then you have someone you know going with you and you fit in a little bit easier and it settles you down a little more.”
Dollarhide said it is exciting that he gets to play tennis for another four years considering he didn’t start playing tennis until his freshman year.
“It is very exciting to be continuing playing tennis,” Dollarhide said. “I love tennis and I get to play it some more. It is nice that I got to play it four years in high school and I get to play it another four years and maybe a little bit after college.”
Dollarhide was a double player in high school and while he loves doubles action, he is not opposed to playing singles.
“It really doesn’t matter [what I play] as long as I am playing tennis there,” he said. “I like doubles because I played doubles my four years in high school, but if I play singles, it is not that big of a difference.”
Karpf and Dollarhide had tremendous senior seasons for the Bulldogs. Karpf finished the season at 16-16 and earned a 10th seed at the Class B state tennis championships at No. 1 Singles. Dollarhide teamed up with Trent Davis at No. 1 Doubles and finished the year at 13-16. Dollarhide and Davis lost a tough three-set match to Waverly 3-6, 7-5, 10-6.
Karpf said the improvement he put in during his last two years at Gering was the difference in his tennis skills.
“I am going to be blunt here. The first couple of years it was just (straigh)],” Karpf said while showing a straight-line hand gesture. “I then put in a lot of work in the off season between my junior and senior year and that soared [my playing level]. It went up from there. It just shows how hard work pays off and putting in the extra hours.”
When Karpf found out he could play tennis in college, it changed his course of action for college.
“I never thought I would get this opportunity but when I saw that I could do it, I threw a lot of other things down the hole so I could do it,” he said. “I just feel great about it just because I get to play another four years.”
Karpf said hard work pays off.
“I have put in a lot of time in during the off season,” he said. “I would get off of work, sometimes at five, and I would go to the courts. If I don’t have to work that day, I go to the courts. Going to the tournaments over the summer and the fall helped, too. It is just putting in the time and the money to get there.”
For Dollarhide, when he started playing his freshman year, he barely could hit a ball. Now, he loves the sport.
“I honestly didn’t know we had a tennis team until I went out. But it feels good that everybody knows that Gering tennis is good now,” he said. “I started playing tennis right before my freshman year and I started where I couldn’t hit the ball at first. Now, I can actually hit the ball pretty good.”
Gering coach Ron Swank said what these two have accomplished on the tennis courts is a testament of hard work by these two
“It is incredible for me to see this and it is a tribute to [assistant coaches April Carlson and Tim Nagaki, too,” Swank said. “We have a good coaching staff and these kids work hard. Most of them don’t pick up a racquet until freshman or sophomore year. So, by your second or third year when you are able to compete with kids that are going to camps and stuff, it is an accomplishment. It is a tribute to these guys that they worked this hard to get the attention. It is a hard game, but a fun game. But once you get hooked, and these guys got hooked, and look where they are at.”
Karpf is planning on majoring in secondary education to be able to teach high school, while Dollarhide is majoring in human performance and exercise science.