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College Commitment
Countdown: Irving Bears Down at Arizona

Before Kelly Irving can answer her phone, "Bear Down Arizona" beckons the caller to leave a message.

Kelly Irving heads to Tucson next fall
© Julie Wrege, TennisRecruiting.net
Bear Down, of course, is Arizona's fight song, and yes, Kelly is leaving her hometown view of the Smokies for the high Sonoran desert. She will be among Arizona's 2009 incoming class whitewashing "A" Mountain this fall, continuing a 100-year-old school tradition.

The pull of Arizona was strong - Kelly's coach Hala Sufi hails from Tucson, and Arizona's Coach Vicky Maes made such an impression on Kelly that it sealed the deal.

"Coach Maes is a great coach," the five-star recruit says. "I think she will help me improve and grow a lot both on and off the court. She is awesome."

Those many years of traveling to Tucson for the Winter Nationals, too, have made it a friendly and familiar place.

Before she made her decision, however, Kelly had to check out Auburn, where family members went. She also considered William and Mary, but decided Arizona fit the bill just right.

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