Morgan Reilly has grown up playing tennis for her father, Mark Reilly, who is the coach at Jeffersonville. She is wrapping up her senior year with a 4.0 GPA, and plans to attend Evangel University in Missouri on a tennis scholarship and study biology/pre-med. Reilly answered questions for Courier-Journal staff writer Kenzie Winstead:
When did you start playing tennis?
Before I was 3. (My father) actually started the tots program for me, but I didn’t start playing year-round until the third grade. I like things I’m good at, and I enjoyed it, too. I like spending time with my dad. I like competing and it gives me an outlet.
How is it playing for your father, and has it changed your relationship?
It has really always been our relationship all long. A lot of kids aren’t able to do that with their parents, but we’re able to handle it.
Do you talk about tennis at home?
All the time. I chart for the guys and will talk about the guys and what they need to work on.
Do you want to do any coaching after this?
I want to be a doctor so I really won’t have time for it.
How did you get interested in medicine?
I think I’ve always been interested in medicine since I was little. Right now, I want to get into pediatrics but it might change.
Why did you choose Evangel?
Four days after my rejection letter (from Vanderbilt) I got an email from the Evangel coach. I really liked the school. I am a Christian but I wasn’t looking at only Christian schools. It’s just a plus. I think I’ll be happier at Evangel.
How far is Evangel and what do your parents think about it?
It’s in Springfield, Mo., about seven hours from here. My mom is a little freaked out about it. But they’re going to come watch me as much as they can.
You will play in the sectionals this weekend. What is your goal in postseason?
It would be nice to win a sectional. It would be our fourth year in a row. That would be our No. 1 goal.
You have recovered from an injury. When were you hurt?
I tore my ACL in November of 2008. I was playing tennis. I came up, stopped and my knee caved in. I was out for seven months. When I came back, I had to play with a brace for at least a year.
How did it feel when you threw away the brace?
I didn’t throw it away. My parents made me keep it in case anything happened. It was so nice to put it away.
Your brother is a freshman on the Jeff boys’ team. When you play, who wins?
The last time I played him I was up on him and and he got mad. I told Dad, “I don’t think this is good for our relationship.”
Other than tennis, do you have any other activities or hobbies?
I’m involved in my church and I’m a member of some clubs at school. I also volunteered for Miles for Merry Miracles.
MORGAN REILLY UP CLOSE
* School: Jeffersonville.
* Year: Senior.
* Family: Parents, Jodi and Mark; brother, Jack, 15, a freshman on the Jeff tennis team.
* Student-athlete: Carries a 4.0 GPA and is ranked No. 3 among seniors. Member of National Honor Society, Anchor Club, Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Council, Miles for Merry Miracles Youth Board. Winner of Barbara S. Wynn Award, given to top female player in the state based on all-around accomplishments; winner of Tony Winburn Award at Jeff. Plans to attend Evangel University in Springfield, Mo., on a tennis scholarship and study biology/pre-med. As a junior, second-team All-State in doubles.
* Mark Reilly, her father, who is in his 27th year as Jeff tennis coach: “She’s very analytical. She’s very driven. She worries about (grades) a lot more than I do. She gives you 100 percent, and it’s what she does in the classroom. Good students usually makes good tennis players. …
“She’s been excellent about taking instruction from me. I tried to get her to play basketball and even golf. It was her choice (to play tennis). I think she just fell in love with the game.”