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Monday, Sep. 1, 2014

Pobst to play tennis at UMSL

Wednesday, May 1, 2002

(Photo)
Sikeston's Stephen Pobst
SIKESTON -- Sikeston tennis standout Stephen Pobst signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

"I'm very excited to have the opportunity," said Pobst. "UMSL has a great program. It's an honor."

Pobst has been the catalyst of Sikeston's tennis team this year, leading the Bulldogs to a 10-1 record. He's currently undefeated on the season and lost just one match all of last year.

"He has really worked hard to put himself in a position to play college tennis," said Sikeston tennis coach Brian James. "He's very deserving of all the accolades he gets. His determination and dedication to the game has gotten him to this point."

UMSL's tennis squad is currently ranked 17th in the nation in Division II. This year they qualified for the NCAA regionals.

Impressively, the men's tennis team has a 100 percent graduation rate.

"I think (Pobst) will be successful, and I'm looking at more than just the tennis," said UMSL tennis coach Rick Gyllenborg. "I think he will be a very good fit. He's a kid that wants to learn and wants to get better."

UMSL graduated its No. 5 through No. 7 players this year, giving Pobst an opportunity to come in and produce right away.

"I don't think he gets enough competition where he is now," said Gyllenborg. "He will find the competition at college is going to be very high compared to what he's used to playing. It will be an everyday push for him."

Pobst is aware of the challenge ahead.

"I'm sure my first couple of weeks up there will be eye-opening," said Pobst. "The level of competition is going to be a step above what I'm used to. Hopefully I can get used to it and eventually be just as good as they are."

Pobst came into tennis late in life, starting in the eighth grade. Since then, he has improved immensely from year to year mostly due to rigorous practice and training in the off-season.

"He's really done a good job of setting the standard for the rest of our team," said James. "He's got very good agility and he's got good anticipation when it comes to knowing where the ball is going to be hit. He's very quick to where he's going, he's got good ground strokes, he's a good volleyer and he's got a good serve. He's a pretty well-rounded player."

Along with tennis, Pobst is also active in National Honor Society, Physics Club and Quiz Bowl. He was also the Elks Student of the Month and has made the Bulldog Honor Roll in every quarter.

He has a 3.98 GPA and plans to major in Pre-Med at UMSL. "This is definitely a big relief for me," said Pobst. "I don't have to worry about any scouts being at state or anywhere. Now I can just concentrate on my senior year, hopefully winning districts and maybe making a good run at state."