By Tommy Keeler Jr. - firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- As Sarah Moomau and her parents were headed to look at Longwood University, she had a bad feeling about it. The Handley girls tennis standout didn't think there was any way this school would be the right one for her.
"I remember telling my parents like, 'This is such a waste of a trip,'" Moomau said. "No one's even heard of Farmville or Longwood. There's no use to look. I'm not going to like it."
Moomau and her family looked at the school, and Moomau quickly changed her mind.
"The whole time we were there I was really quiet, and afterward I was like, 'I really like it,'" Moomau said. "It's so pretty. I got a good, comfortable feeling there."
Last week Moomau, after heavily considering several other schools, decided to attend Division I Longwood this coming year. The recent Handley graduate will play on the women's tennis team for the Lancers. Moomau applied too late to earn a scholarship, but the coaching staff has assured that she will get something in her sophomore season.
Moomau, who won the Group AA individual girls tennis singles state title in June, was also considering Division II Shepherd University and Division III Christopher Newport University.
She loved all three schools so much that she finally decided to base her decision on the higher-caliber university.
"I tried not to base my decision on what division they were," Moomau said. "I just wanted to go to the college that I enjoyed the most and would have the most fun at, but since I liked them all so much I decided I should go for the best. If I didn't go for the Division I [school] I might regret it later on, if I didn't at least try it out. I decided to go with the top division."
The Lancers do not play in a conference, but still play a tough schedule. Last year Longwood went 13-8. The Lancers played solid Division I schools such as James Madison and Radford.
Longwood also played in and won a Division I independent tournament at the end of the season, beating Winston-Salem State in the final. The Lancers return five players from last year's squad.
Moomau said her goal for this season is to earn a starting spot on the team.
"I really just want to break into the top six," Moomau said. "If I don't, I won't be that bummed. I'm not putting that pressure on myself. I have four years to play into the top six. I just want to work hard and enjoy myself."
Moomau had an outstanding high school career, where she led the Judges to three consecutive state titles and a 74-match winning streak. She finished with an 80-2 record in singles, the most wins in school history.
John Dokken, club pro at Stonebrook Racquet and Fitness Club and Moomau's personal coach, said Moomau accomplished a lot through her hard work and dedication and he's sure she will do great things at Longwood.
"You couldn't ask for anyone better to work with," Dokken said. "She does everything you ask for her to do. She does the off-court work. She's always pleasant. I'm just really, really happy for her that she accomplished what she set out to do.
"I talked to the [Longwood coach]. He seems like a very good guy, very focused. I think she'll have a great time."
Moomau said she's excited for the opportunity to play at the Division I level.
"The last few years, it's definitely been a goal," Moomau said. "I definitely wanted to play in college, and I was positive that I could. [Playing] Division I, I always thought would be awesome, and now that I know that I am it's pretty cool."