Penn-Trafford grad thriving as Pitt-Greensburg’s ace
After a stellar freshman season, Penn-Trafford graduate and Pitt-Greensburg sophomore men’s tennis player Turner Price has picked up where he left off.
Price, who turned 20 on Oct. 15, ended the fall ranked first in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference at first singles (5-0). He was named the conference’s men’s tennis athlete of the week for Sept. 3-8 after winning singles and doubles matches in the season opener against Penn State Behrend.
Last season, Price was named the conference’s player and newcomer of the year after going 11-3 overall and 6-0 in conference play in singles.
He made first-team all-conference in first singles and second-team all-conference in first doubles. A management student, he also was named to the academic all-conference team.
Price said he can top last season by becoming a better leader.
“Last year, I sometimes let my emotions get the best of me when matches were not going my way,” he said. “I need to set a better example for my teammates so we can build a winning culture.”
Price said he has improved his serve.
“It was the weakest part of my game last year, and it limited me at times,” he said. “Also, I worked on developing my backhand to become an overall better player.”
Pitt-Greensburg coach Doug Smeltzer said Price has been making small, in-game adjustments to help pull out closely contested matches.
“Last year, all but one of his losses came in third-set tiebreakers,” Smeltzer said. “He and I both have made a better effort to identify what is and is not working for him on any given day, so he can play according to his many strengths.
“Turner put a ton of work into his serve over the summer. The consistency he now has on both the first and second serves has allowed him to dominate his service games and keep pressure on his opponent at all times.”
Turner’s goals include making it to the conference championship match as a team.
The Bobcats (3-2, 3-1) finished the fall in third place in the conference.
“Also, I believe my doubles partner, Vaughn Huenkle, and I have the ability to finish the rest of the season out strong and win out in doubles,” said Price, a two-time WPIAL Section 1-AAA champion in singles and doubles.
Price and Huenkle, a Highlands graduate and a senior, rank second in the conference in first doubles (4-1).
The Bobcats’ next match is in March. During the break, Price, a huge basketball fan, plans to play as much basketball as possible.
“I’ll work on trying to improve my core and (leg) strength to make me more explosive,” he said.
Karen Kadilak is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.