For Parker McGuiness, tennis is more than a sport — it’s a way of life. The senior from McKinney, Texas, has been playing the game he loves since he was eight years old. Coming from a family where everyone played tennis, that was inevitable.
“My whole family played tennis so I kind of grew up in that atmosphere,” McGuiness said. “I tried playing my first tennis tournaments when I was 10 and I began playing competitively when I turned 12. Tennis has been in my life for almost as long as I can remember.”
In speaking of his love for the game and what he enjoys most about playing, McGuiness said tennis was a team sport that was very individualistic. He says he loves the competition that comes along with each match, because he is on his own to figure out each problem and challenge that comes his way.
Playing tennis collegiately was always in his future, but that path didn’t exactly lead to the University of Utah.
“I started playing at NC State and I transferred here after my freshman season, [and] what originally brought me here was the hiring of [head coach Roeland Brateanu],” McGuiness said. “Coming from the ACC to the Pac-12, there wasn’t really a drop off in the level of competition, so Roeland made a big difference in my decision to come here. Besides that, I love the outdoors. We don’t have any mountains in Texas, and I love being outside in our environment.”
McGuiness has built up an impressive record in both singles and doubles play throughout his years playing in high school and college. In high school, he lettered all four years in the sport. He was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in Texas and as the No. 67 player in the nation. Eventually, he would go on to post a 34-15 record before college.
In his lone season at North Carolina State, McGuiness finished with a 6-4 record in singles matches and he had a 5-3 record in doubles competition. In his sophomore year, he improved his record to 13-8 in singles action and he finished with an 8-5 record in doubles competition. In his junior season, McGuiness was an ITA scholar athlete and picked up several victories against tough competition in multiple tournaments.
McGuiness says his senior season is going pretty well, so far.
“I think right now, we’ve been playing decently well as a team. This was the best fall season that we’ve had in a long time,” McGuiness said. “Our team is really close right now and that only helps our goals of making the NCAA tournament and going undefeated in non-conference play. I think those are two realistic goals with the group we have now.”
Finishing up the ITA regionals match in Las Vegas, Nev., McGuiness is preparing for the spring season, where he hopes to accomplish his goals.
“Spring is our main season, so we want to focus on that right now,” McGuiness said. “I think we’ve played pretty well up to this point, so the only thing left is to prepare for that.”
McGuiness said that his favorite moment happened when he first transferred to the U.
“Those first couple of weeks were great,” McGuiness said. “I really got to know the team, and I loved being part of building this program from the ground up. It has been a great experience for me personally. Watching the growth of this program has been exciting as well.”
The next major event on the schedule is the national collegiate tennis classic on Jan. 13, followed by a match at Idaho State on Jan. 21.