KINGMAN - The University of Sioux Falls, an NCAA Division II college that plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, has signed Kingman High senior Cortney McCans to a financial package to play for the Cougars' women's tennis team.
"We're excited to have her," said USF coach Kevin Grebin. "It's always fun to get a blue chip player here at our university."
Through athletic and academic scholarships and grants, McCans is expected to receive $23,200 in aid toward her education costs over the next four years. Though that leaves a sum left over for her and her family to cover, it was one of the reasons she elected to play for USF.
"They did offer the most money," the senior said. "But when I visited in October, everything fell into place. It's a nice campus, and I feel like I can live there for the next four years."
Grebin sees a ton of potential in McCans and expects the incoming freshman to contribute sooner rather than later for the Cougars.
"I think her potential is unlimited," the coach said. "She'll come in immediately and produce for the team."
It's been quite the journey for McCans. When she entered high school, she had played tennis sparingly by taking part in the local kids camps held by Brooke Fix. At that time, she expected herself to play volleyball at the next level.
"Volleyball is huge in my family, and I really love it," she said. "I really wanted to go to NAU, and I did the NAU volleyball camps during my freshman and sophomore summers."
McCans has worked locally with Daryl Heinitz on her tennis game over her high school years, and he isn't surprised by her accomplishment.
"Cortney is really determined and has such a single-mindedness to work and practice on things," Heinitz said. "I consider it an honor to have worked with her."
He sees a couple of areas in McCans' game that she needs to improve on. If she does, he believes she'll turn into a nice, competitive college player.
"A lot of the game doesn't come naturally to her, but she's worked hard on her court savvy, planning shots and thinking ahead," Heinitz said. "Her being left-handed is a natural advantage that she hasn't exploited, but she's been learning to do that."
Heinitz worked in cohesion with former Kingman coach Traci Rosenbach so that McCans could benefit from having two coaches that did not go against each other in what they were trying to accomplish with her.
"I've seen players in the past whose high school and personal coaches would tell them opposite things and compete for their attention," he said. "I didn't want that. I just wanted to fill in the gap until the high school season started and for her to be a better player when she got there."
McCans led Kingman as its No. 1 singles player this year. Current Kingman coach Laura Hilfinger has worked with her for only this one season and she sees a promising future for McCans.
"Cortney is a hard worker, and she always has a very positive attitude," Hilfinger said. "She's already a strong player. I think we will be hearing very good things about her during the next four years."
Grebin said the biggest challenge for McCans at the next level would most likely be the speed of the game. Though it will be challenging, he expects McCans to make the adjustments necessary.
"It is a lot faster, but I'm confident she won't have any issues," he said. "I'm not bringing in anyone who will be overwhelmed."