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Men's tennis signs two

Postby PonyPride » Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:09 am

From SMUMustangs.com:

Mustangs Sign Two Of Nation's Best To NLIs

DALLAS (SMU) – SMU men's tennis head coach Grant Chen announced the signing of Alex Stafford, ranked 99th nationally, and Eli Susser, Texas SuperChamp, to NLIs today.

"We are thrilled to announce the addition of two American student athletes, Alex Stafford and Eli Susser. These are high character individuals who want to help the team succeed," exclaimed SMU men's tennis head coach Grant Chen. "They both have solid, gritty baseline games, love to compete and will thrive in the collegiate team environment. Eli and Alex are both very bright students and value their education. Coach Ben and I are excited to welcome both the boys and their families to The Hilltop."

A TRN 4 star recruit, Stafford plays No. 1 in singles at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, where he was a Scholar-Athlete, and led his team to section championships in 2018-19, and a SoCal Regional Championship in 2019. On the juniors circuit, Stafford was a singles finalist at the Anaheim Tennis Center tournament and the Los Caballeros Junior, where he also won the doubles championship. He was a semifinalist in doubles at the Long Beach Junior Open and a singles finalist at the Santa Barbara Junior Open. He currently boasts a 11.22 UTR and top 15 in Southern California section for under 18's.

At the national level, Stafford won the singles consolation championship at the USTA National in Aptos, Calif., and was a semifinalist in doubles competition. He also competed in the USTA National in Rome, Ga., and was a consolation semifinalist.

"My brother attended SMU when I was 8 years old and since then I've always wanted to be part of the SMU community," said Stafford. "Signing the NLI to SMU is a testament to a lot of hard work to reach my goal of playing on the SMU team, and I'm excited to get on campus next fall and contribute to the team's success. Pony Up!"

Chen said of Stafford, "Alex was destined to be a Mustang. One of San Diego's best juniors, he grew up attending SMU tennis camp and spending much of his childhood in Dallas with his older brother James. He has helped lead powerhouse Torrey Pines High School to state championships and we know he can help us do the same here. It is exciting to continue adding top Southern California players to our squad."

"I'm super excited to join SMU next fall," stated Susser. "Coach Chen has built an incredible program and I'm looking forward to continuing my academic and athletic careers right here on the Hilltop."

Susser is a four-time Texas SuperChamp, and ranks in the top four percent of his class at W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi, Texas where he spent his first three years of high school. Susser moved to Dallas, Texas, to attend Highland Park High School for his senior year. He won a district championship as a sophomore in singles, and was named district MVP each of the last two seasons, boasting an undefeated record in three of his four seasons at the helm of the team. He finished three seasons at W.B. Ray High School in Corpus Christi 30-2 in District 29-5A earning MVP awards in 2019 and 2020. Susser is also three time All-Academic team and qualified for States in 2020.

"Eli will be bringing his relentless, hard-working mentality to the program. He is extremely passionate about the game and his best tennis is still ahead of him," explained Chen. "He always puts the team first. As a local Texas product, he will help raise the bar and add tremendous depth to the roster."

Susser's philanthropic activities, highlighted by non-profit work with The New Years Knockout Tennis Tournament, helped raise funds for pediatric cancer research. Susser has earned many local, state and national sportsmanship accolades.

Susser and Stafford will both enroll at SMU in August 2021.
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Re: Men's tennis signs two

Postby tristatecoog » Thu Nov 19, 2020 5:44 pm

Eli Susser seems related to the Susser family of Susser Holdings which sold its Stripes convenience stores to Energy Transfer Partners for $1.8B in 2015. Glad he has a relentless spirit and excellent grades.

Both seem like strong additions to the SMU community.
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