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Morris' early adjustments pay off

CR player went unbeaten in senior campaign

2:02 AM, Jun. 25, 2012 EDT

Caesar Rodney's Jared Morris follows through on a return on his way to winning the first singles title in May. / The News Journal/William Bretzger

Jared Morris got into tennis at a young age, when his parents took him to matches and he fell in love with the sport. It was an injury when he was first learning the game that forced him to adopt the playing style he has now.

"When I was little, my parents took me to the courts, and I was hooked," Morris said. "Actually, I broke my arm when I was playing. So if I wanted to keep playing, I had to learn how to play left-handed. That's why I'm lefty now."

Years later, the switch in technique has certainly worked.

Just like his junior season in 2011, Morris went undefeated during his senior campaign. He won the first singles state title on May 23 with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over Salesianum's Austin Blake, and Morris capped a stellar career at Caesar Rodney by winning his second straight Player of the Year award in boys tennis.

"It means a lot. I won it a last year, and it was pretty cool to win it after coming off an injury," said Morris, who suffered a knee injury that delayed preparation for his junior season. "Then to come back another year and go undefeated once again to win Player of the Year feels really good."

Morris will participate in several Association of Tennis Professionals and other national tournaments in the summer as a wild-card entry before joining East Carolina University in the fall.

Morris chose to play tennis for the Pirates because he said he felt comfortable at the Greenville, N.C., school. He plans to major in speech kinesiology.

"It was on my top five list, and with the other schools I visited, I did not feel the best vibe," Morris said. "I really liked East Carolina, and I liked the vibe and campus where I could spend the next four or five years."

Morris' coach at Caesar Rodney, James Harvey, is confident that Morris' transition to college will be smooth. He believes Morris will adapt and contribute to East Carolina's lineup quickly.

"It won't take him a year ... to make the team," Harvey said. "He'll make a contribution early."

Morris helped the Riders earn a share of the team state title with Tatnall this year, and the time spent with his teammates were among his favorite memories.

"I will remember the conference meets because they were at the beach," Morris said. "We always would get a house down there and spend time together. We always got along pretty well."



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