published Friday, June 8th, 2012

KIAC star Nathan Schley back in town for Tennessee Valley Open Championships

Baylor's Nathan Schley returns a forehand shot on his way to defeating McCallie's Evan Watkins, 6-2, 6-3 during singles play Wednesday at McCallie. Baylor tooks the doubles and won five of six singles matches.
Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press
Baylor's Nathan Schley returns a forehand shot on his way to defeating McCallie's Evan Watkins, 6-2, 6-3 during singles play Wednesday at McCallie. Baylor tooks the doubles and won five of six singles matches. Staff Photo by Tim Barber/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Over the next few months, Nathan Schley will be traveling to a lot of different places. At least for the time being, though, "home" is still in Chattanooga.

Even if home for the next few weeks is in a friend's basement.

Schley is in town for the Tennessee Valley Open Championships this weekend at Manker Patten Tennis Club. Now a sophomore at Asbury College, the former Grace Academy and Baylor standout was named Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year after his freshman season, going 15-4 in singles and 15-3 in doubles as the Eagles advanced to the NAIA national tournament for the first time.

"I guess you could say it was a good year," Schley said Thursday. "I beat some guys I probably shouldn't have beaten."

He also is working the Baylor tennis camp this week. After this weekend, he'll soon be back on the road, whether it's to Seattle to visit his parents or to Wisconsin to stay with other family members.

He's playing only doubles this year in the TVOC after advancing to the singles consolation semifinals last year. He's teaming with former teammate and 2012 Division II-AA state doubles champion Eric Roddy and pairing with Baylor junior McCall Morgan in mixed doubles. Schley and Roddy won their first-round match 6-2, 6-4 over former McCallie standouts Merrill and Wes Nelson.

"I love coming here to play," Schley said. "You get the opportunity to play with a lot of different guys in a lot of different situations."

At Grace he was a state singles semifinalist as a sophomore as well as a starter on the basketball team that advanced to the state tournament his first two seasons. He then transferred to Baylor, where after sitting out a year he played No. 3 singles in tennis.

"It was definitely hard work when I transferred to Baylor," he said. "The tennis conditioning and the hours of homework. I missed basketball, but I'm not sad I gave it up because I don't think I would have been able to earn a scholarship if I had stayed [at Grace]."

He's one of a number of athletes recently graduated from local schools who are playing the TVOC. Chattanooga Christian graduate Will Reynolds will be entering his junior year at Georgia, while Sawyer Voges was 11-4 playing No. 2 singles this past season for Birmingham-Southern.

Chris Schlabach and William Disterdick, who along with Voges were on the 2009 McCallie state championship team, are playing both doubles and singles. Disterdick will be a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, while Schlabach played two seasons for Middlebury College in Pennsylvania.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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