December 4, 2012 – There was quite a buzz about the Hillsdale College women's tennis team as the 2012 season came to a close. The Chargers finished in the top five in the GLIAC, saw its coach named coach of the year and improved by eight wins over the previous season. So it was only fitting that three "bees" would join the program in 2013.
Head coach Nikki Walbright is pleased to announce the additions of Amberley Bailey (Talahassee, Fla./Lincoln), Danagrace Buck (Vero Beach, Fla./St. Edwards) and Jada Bissett (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Eastern) to the Charger program.
"I am thrilled at the signing of these three incoming freshmen," Walbright said. "Each will bring a strong tennis game and positive attitude that fits well with our team dynamic. As our program continues to grow and become stronger, these three will add on to the great depth we have started this year. I expect continued success for next year's program and am looking forward to working with these girls."
Bailey is a winner of the Wendy's High School Heisman and a two-time team MVP at Lincoln High School. She also participated in cross country as a junior in 2011. Bailey has been involved with the National Honor Society, the Spanish National Honor Society and the Civinettes service club.
She is maintaining a 4.6 overall grade point average and ranks in the top five in her class academically. She is spending her senior year dual enrolled at Florida State University.
Fellow Floridian Danagrace Buck made her high school's varsity tennis team as an eighth grader and enjoyed a very successful career. She was a three-time district champion at #2 and #3 singles and was part of a district champion #1 doubles team as a senior in 2012. She was a state semifinalist at #3 singles as a sophomore in 2010 and made it to the state quarterfinals at #2 singles as a senior.
Her team finished in the top five at the state tournament twice in her career and was twice named First-Team All-Area. The Website tennisrecruiting.net has Buck as the #54-ranked player in her class in the entire state of Florida. Two of her grandparents, James Richards Buck and Kathryn Kirn also attended Hillsdale College.
Buck has been involved in the Indian River Tennis Foundation, helping with fundraising and teaching the game to underprivileged children, while also being a part of the Mardy Fish & Jake Owen Foundation as well as Pathways, Inc.
Bissett is the lone Michigan native in the freshman class of 2013, and enters her senior season in the spring as one of the top players in the Grand Rapids area. She has three top-six finishes at the state tournament in her three years on the varsity team and helped lead Forest Hills Eastern to three straight conference championships. She will be a team captain for the second year in a row in 2012 and has been selected All-Conference and All-Area in each of her first three seasons at Eastern.
The USTA has Bissett ranked fifth in the Western Michigan District and number 123 overall in the Midwest Region.
She is involved with Young Life, the student government, a Wyld Life leader and is president of Chemical Use Can Kill. She was born in Zurich, Switzerland and lived in Europe until she was eight years old.
These three players will be joining the GLIAC's most improved program. As a team, Hillsdale went from three wins in its revival season of 2011 to 11 in 2012, and finished in fifth place at the GLIAC Tournament. Walbright was named GLIAC Coach of the Year, and the Chargers return eight of their top nine players next year.