Hampton Heads South to Sun Devil Territory
by Clair Maciel, 20 August 2014
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As one can imagine, growing up as a tennis player in the Northwest can be limited to indoor play for most of the year due to snow and rain. It's not the most ideal of year-round conditions, especially for outdoor tennis. Which is partly why Washington's top-ranked junior, Samantha Hampton, has decided to head south for the next four years. The Blue Chip senior from Vancouver, Wash., announced she will head to sunny Tempe to join the Arizona State University women's tennis team as a freshman next fall.
Hampton had considered other sunny climates such as Tennessee
as options in her college decision, but after meeting the Sun Devil coaches and team members and visiting the campus, there was something special about ASU that swayed her final decision.
"Each of the three coaches I was talking to had actually come to pay me a visit this summer, but I really liked coach Sheila (McInerney) because she had such great energy and personality. I knew we'd get along great," Hampton said. "Plus, I knew in making my decision that I wanted to go somewhere hot. I'm really excited about my choice because it's a desert area with completely different scenery and weather than I'm used to."
In preparing for her move to the PAC-12, Hampton has spent her summer playing national level tournaments and conquering the field at the GPTC/Nike Oregon Tennis Championships in July, where she notched her proudest victory in taking home the trophy. In addition, she and her coach will put a larger focus on fitness, strength and conditioning for the next 12 months in order to get stronger and prepare for the next level of college tennis.
A gifted natural athlete who grew up playing soccer, basketball and softball, Hampton admits that although her father, a recreational player, initially got her involved in the sport of tennis, it was the experience of watching the pros play on television that got her hooked.
"Actually, it was the colorful outfits the players wore that caught my eye as a kid," she said with a laugh. "But what kept me playing the game was the fact that it's an individual sport and there's constant action because you're involved in every play with every ball."