GOODMAN --- The Holmes Community College women's tennis team had two players sign national letters of intent with the Mississippi University for Women here this week. Lucy Oakes of French Camp and Hannah Thomas of Meridian will continue their playing careers at the four-year university.
Oakes attended French Camp Academy while Thomas attended Clarkdale.
"I chose the W because I like the campus, and it was super nice," Thomas said. "I like the people there. I like it because it was a smaller university not like a big, big university."
Thomas said she will miss her time at Holmes. "I like it at Holmes because it's super small," she said. "I'm from Clarkdale so it was super small in Clarkdale. I guess I wasn't shell-shocked coming here. There's not that many people, and I made a lot of friends."
She said her game has improved since leaving Clarkdale. "My strokes have improved, and I've taken more lessons," she said. "The difference is the people that you play is a whole lot tougher competition. College usually takes the best out of high schools so that was the difference."
Thomas will major in pre-nursing at MUW.
Oakes said she liked the MUW campus when she visited. "The campus was really pretty," Oakes said. "It will be my home away from home. It's smaller and more intimate. You get to know a lot more people and your environment. It's a new place. I've never lived in Columbus so it'll be cool to have a new experience."
She enjoyed her time at Holmes as well. "Holmes is also super small," she said. "You get to know all the people, and you never see somebody you don't recognize. You can walk to the lunch room and sit with anybody because you know everybody and nobody is an outcast and everybody has a friend group. That was super important because when you go to college you don't want to be alone. That's one of the biggest fears is not being able to make friends. It made it really easy being here at Holmes. Everybody was so warm and accepting no matter what."
Oakes only played a few matches toward the end of the season because of a wrist injury and is still not 100 percent. "Hopefully by the time it rolls around in the fall I'll be 100 percent," Oakes said. "We are working on physical therapy and electric stem so hopefully I will be 100 percent.
"College is definitely a game-changer," Oakes said. "You play people that you would never play in high school. That's like a huge difference. It is tough competition, but it's a lot of fun."
Before her injury, Oakes said she had really improved. "I'm keeping my shots in, and I can project where my shot are going to go. I had a lot more control over what I was doing. I wasn't winging it and hoping the ball would fall into the blue line. I think that was a huge thing becoming consistent.
She will major in psychology at MUW.