News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Rose-Hulman

May 15, 2012

From humble start to collegiate success: South graduate went 11-4 for Rose-Hulman tennis team

BRAZIL — It takes just seven players to field a high school varsity tennis match. So especially in the larger high schools, that forces some talented players to compete in relative obscurity in junior varsity matches.

Case in point would be Rose-Hulman freshman Ray Montgomery.

Montgomery, a Terre Haute South graduate, has burst on the scene with the Rose-Hulman men’s tennis team. After a brief stint at doubles early in the season, he was inserted at No. 6 singles and has reeled off an 11-4 won-lost record.

Not coincidentally, that tweak in the lineup played a role in the Engineers recovering from an uncharacteristic 0-4 start to win nine of their last 11 matches; the Engineers qualified as a No. 4 seed in the recent Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.

Montgomery’s sudden success could be labeled a surprise, after he generally played JV doubles at South. He recalled playing in just eight varsity matches during his prep career.

“I just wasn’t high enough on the line. There were plenty of people better than me that deserved those spots,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery is not one for making excuses either, but he was slowed by ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) knee surgery in the spring of his junior year — an injury incurred while a member of the Braves’ track team, the 4x800 relay being his specialty.

“I don’t know if I could have made varsity full-time my senior year, but the junior year was all done and over … I just don’t want to use the ACL as an excuse,” Montgomery said.

How did he land at No. 6 singles with the Engineers?

“Coach [Dan Hopkins] decided to switch me and the [No.] 6 singles guy, because he was having a little trouble at singles,” Montgomery said. “He switched him to doubles and put me at 6 singles, to see if we’d have more success and we have.”

Playing at No. 6 singles — there are six singles matches in NCAA Division III matches — might not sound overly dramatic, but Montgomery was “the man” in at least two key HCAC victories this season.

“He had the winning point against Hanover, then one against the College of Mount St. Joseph … that one in three sets,” Hopkins noted.

“I didn’t know I was the fifth point [against MSJ] until I got off the court, and [teammates] said ‘Dude, you were the fifth point.’ And I go, ‘Cool,’ ” Montgomery smiled.

Hopkins and Montgomery go way back as coach and player, a relationship nurtured in the Terre Haute Junior Tennis program.

“Dan, with 40-plus  years of tennis … that’s a lot of experience,” Montgomery said.

“[Montgomery’s] very coachable, he takes advice, analyzes it, then uses it,” Hopkins said. Hopkins also pointed out another connection which makes their coach/player relationship click.

Hopkins coached Wes Kirk as a player, then Kirk would later coach Montgomery while an assistant coach at Terre Haute South.

“That makes it nice to talk to [Montgomery] on the court,” Hopkins said. “We use the same terminology that he used with Wes [Kirk].”

Speaking of South connections, Montgomery’s high school teammate Eric Fair is also a freshman this year for the Engineers. Fair, primarily a JV singles players for the Braves, has not cracked the Rose lineup — yet.

“Eric’s right there,” Hopkins said. “We had three seniors this year who earned their spots. [Eric] will play a ton next year.”

Is Montgomery looking to move up the line in singles at Rose?

“I’m not worried about moving up the ladder,” Montgomery stated. “Maybe in high school I worried about moving up the ladder a little bit more. It’s like ‘Man, I want to be higher up.’ But at this point, I think I’ve realized that if I’m not higher up it’s because they’re better than me, they should be up there.

“Most I can do for my team is do what I can do — win my point and cheer them on to win their points.”

Still, with an 11-4 record this year, a future advancement seems likely.

“That might come with time … my junior-slash-senior year,” Montgomery said. “But I don’t know how much I’ll improve. I’d have to say after I tore my ACL, I got better … which was ironic. So I don’t know what the future holds for me. I’ll see what happens.”

Montgomery is majoring in electrical engineering at Rose.

“I like the idea of electricity, how energy is transferred from metal to metal,” he said. “So many factors going into it. For about half my life, maybe two-fifths, wanted to be an electrician like my dad is.

“We did a job search thing in sixth grade, pick characteristics and it tells you what you want to be. Turns out there was electrician and there was electrical engineer. I thought electrical engineering, that’s more math and gets paid more. That’s why I chose electrical engineering.

“I kind of thought of [attending] Purdue, but I said no because Rose-Hulman is close to home. I wouldn’t have to move away from home. I’d still be with my family. That sounded cool.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Rose-Hulman
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Mother of 2 Makes NFL Cheerleading Squad at 40 Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Thousands at Peace Rally in Tel Aviv Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Raw: Sirens After Explosions in Israel Judge OKs Record-setting $2B Sale of Clipper Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity