Siera Hasler will play at the highest level of collegiate tennis.
The Morton High School senior announced Jan. 24 she will attend Southern Illinois University and play women’s tennis for the Salukies.
“I’m very excited,” said Hasler. “I can’t wait to play Division I. Ever since probably last year, I was thinking about playing college tennis.”
Hasler said she has worked hard in the winter, hitting regularly at Parkside Athletics Racquet & Health Club in Pekin.
A former University of Nebraska football trainer is working with the SIU women’s tennis program on agility training.
Hasler would enjoy playing either format for the Salukies. She said she really likes doubles, but hopes to improve her singles game.
There are eight full-ride scholarships available for women’s tennis at the Carbondale campus.
Two freshmen fill out the 10-player roster, meaning Hasler will receive a scholarship for her last three years.
Hasler, who started taking tennis seriously in eighth grade, said she is eager to face players at the D-I level. SIU has three fall tournaments and a full spring line-up on its 2010-11 schedule.
“I’ve never been pushed so hard,” Hasler said. “It’s cool to have the opportunity to play against the best girls I’ve ever played with.”
She added the competition in the Missouri Valley Conference will be good.
Hasler recognized her personal instructor, Carson Thompson, and MHS head coaches Pete Martin (girls) and Joal Stanfield (boys) for their roles in helping prepare her.
Hasler also said she is thankful for the support of her family.
A two-time Illinois High School Association state qualifier in doubles, Hasler also was a first-team all-Mid-Illini Conference honoree in 2010.
Hasler intends to major in business with a possible emphasis in marketing or public relations.