Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 31, 2013

USTA Ky. awards special for local pair

Rocky Stanley
The Independent

ASHLAND — For the first time, Ashland made it a sweep of the Most Improved Player awards Saturday at the Kentucky Tennis Hall of Fame and Awards Celebration in Louisville.

A crowd of 250 gathered for the event at Louisville Country Club. 

David Bush, a junior at Rose Hill Christian, and Fairview senior Kennedy Womack were selected as the boy and girl winners by USTA Kentucky, based on accomplishments.

“It’s really exciting,” Womack said. “I’ve kind of always wanted that award. I’m pretty pumped I got it my last year.”

Womack, a Morehead State University signee, did not attend Saturday but said the award shows that all of her hard work has paid off.

She has been ranked No. 1 in Kentucky at multiple junior levels and won the Joe Creason southern qualifier in every age division.

In addition, Womack has travelled extensively to compete in Southern and national tournaments.

“So many things I have been able to do through tennis,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of cool experiences.”

Last spring, Womack was girls singles runner-up at the state high school championships while attending Rose Hill Christian. She transferred to Fairview in September and has been ruled eligible by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association for her senior season.

“I wasn’t sure I was going to get to play,” Womack said. “I’m very excited to be playing for Fairview and representing my community.”    

Bush enjoyed a highly successful 2012 season.

As a high school sophomore, he was regional singles champ for the third consecutive year and advanced to the state quarterfinals. The performance led to him being named to the All-State team.

“That was really special and led to me working harder for the Creason tournament,” Bush said.

Seeded third in Boys 16s at the Creason, Bush beat the No. 2 and No. 1 seeds to earn the title in what is considered the USTA state tournament.

“Winning that kind of sparked something in me,” Bush said. “Since that, I saw how much better I could get.”

Bush also represented Kentucky at the Southern Davis Cup and fared well in several other state and Southern Section tournaments.

His most anxious moment, however, may have come at Saturday’s award ceremony.

“It was pretty nerve-racking having to give an acceptance speech, Bush said.

At the end, he told the audience “Most importantly, I want to thank God for blessing me with the ability to play a sport I love, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he has planned for me next.”

Bush, who called the whole experience “pretty cool,” is looking forward to his upcoming high school junior season.

“Absolutely, I always do,” he said.

ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at rstanley@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2671.