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Tennis: Luke Sanderson gets best of both worlds at Air Force

Luke SandersWheatfield competes doubles play during 2013 Post-Tribune Tennis Classic Valparaiso University Wednesday July 24 2013. His doubles partner was

Luke Sanderson of Wheatfield competes in doubles play during the 2013 Post-Tribune Tennis Classic at Valparaiso University on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. His doubles partner was Bryce Bonin of Crown Point. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 5, 2014 6:36AM



There have been many ways to look at local tennis talent Luke Sanderson over the last few years.

Many have known him as the face of Kankakee Valley tennis and one of the most formidable singles players in Northern Indiana. Sanderson has also been recognized for accomplishing a lot at a young age, especially after being named to the first-team all-state singles list for the first time as a sophomore.

But earlier this month the Kougars senior added another perspective when he chose to become a cadet. The lanky player committed to continue on with his passion and also serve his country by singing with the United States Air Force Academy.

“I would say that, about four or five years ago, that, I had my mind set on going there — it was always one of my dream schools,” Sanderson said. “I just love what goes on there, and what their mission is all about. I’ve always just wanted to serve my country and I’ve always wanted to play Division I tennis and the combination was perfect for me.”

This declaration comes after Sanderson posted his strongest IHSAA season to date. After sitting out for the 2012 season to focus on sharpening up on the USTA level, Sanderson rattled off 24 straight wins and finished as the state runner-up in individual singles tournament (he lost 6-2, 6-2 in the title match to Park Tudor junior Danny Rayl). Through three years of high school action Sanderson put together a record of 70-3 and broke the past Kougars’ career wins record of 56 victories. The former Post-Tribune player of the year never dropped a match in his local schedule.

His senior season not only marked his best campaign — after previously making it as far as the quarterfinals of state in his sophomore year — but it was the a chance for him to share the achievements on a more personal level, seeing as his older sister Katee Sanderson took over the coaching job from longtime KV coach Dan Roberts.

“There’s no better chemistry than you could get with me and my sister because we grew up together and she gets my game,” Sanderson said.

When Sanderson begins classes at the college in Colorado, he’ll begin a five-year preparatory program (which is similar to being redshirted for a season). Following graduation he’ll then take on five years of service.

“I’m just real excited and I plan on representing my school in Northwest Indiana,” he said. “I’ll always remember where I started in Northwest Indiana and all of the people that got me to this point.”



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