Callisburg's Wanamaker signs with Southwestern

May 3—Callisburg's left-handed tennis star is headed a few hours north to continue his playing career.

Suede Wanamaker will play for Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. Callisburg recognized him Wednesday in the high school library.

Wanamaker said Southwestern showed interest in him early in the recruitment process.

"It was the first college that had really had interest in trying to improve my tennis skill," Wanamaker said. "They saw a lot of potential in me and know that I can play to the college level."

Wanamaker started playing tennis his freshman year, though that season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. He has watched tennis and wanted to play most of his life, but he said there weren't any options to play competitively before high school.

Callisburg tennis coach Chet Baker said Wanamaker has been one of the Wildcats' top players.

"He wants to work hard and be the best tennis player he can be," Baker said. "He always works hard. He knows more about tennis than, like, he can tell you everything. Stats about pro players, colleges. It's pretty amazing the history and the knowledge he has of tennis. He just loves the game."

Southwestern is located roughly four and a half hours north of Callisburg, just north of the Kansas-Oklahoma state line. The Moundbuilders are a National Association of Intercollege Athletics (NAIA) program playing in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC).

Southwestern perennially fields one of the top programs in the conference. The Moundbuilders finished second in the KCAC this year and will continue their season May 16 in the NAIA national tournament against Westcliff University (CA).

Wanamaker said he decided to pursue playing in college during his junior year as he continued improving.

"Playing against tough opponents and everything, and even some opponents that aren't as good, that have kind have shown me I want to go up and play college," Wanamaker said. "I've learned how to play against different types of players. Because we play in such a small area, there's a bunch of different styles over the way people play."

Wanamaker is one of six outgoing tennis seniors at Callisburg. He has received all-district honors for both singles and doubles.

Baker said being left-handed makes Wanamaker tough to play against.

"It's just the spin on the ball, especially on the serve," Baker said. "It really kicks away from a righty, so it's hard to get to. It really is. I've had some really good lefties in the past. You get them every once in a while, and he's a really good one."

Wanamaker plans to become an accountant after college.