MATTOON — Reese Bergstrom’s run to the state tennis tournament last May made him think.
The thoughts were more than the reaction to his performance that outdid his expectations. They reached far deeper and dug into the bigger picture. His long-standing goal was to continue his tennis career as long as possible. Only after that state finals appearance, though, when he and doubles partner Coby Comstock became the first Mattoon High School duo since 2004 to advance in the state tournament, did he consider that playing tennis beyond high school was a legitimate option that was his to seize.
“I realized I was getting steadily better,” Bergstrom said. “Going into my senior year is when I decided that I didn’t care what it takes, I was going to put in the work and make sure I was going to keep playing tennis.”
Bergstrom signed with DePauw on March 29 in a ceremony at Mattoon High School. He chose DePauw over a handful of other Midwest schools and took visits to Division II schools McKendree University and Maryville. Though his commitment came a few weeks after, he left a February visit to DePauw and meeting with head tennis coach Scott Riggle leaning toward attending the school.
“They’re academics first and athletics second, but they take the sport seriously,” Bergstrom said. “They have six indoor courts, which is huge so I can practice year-round no matter what. I think I’ll be coached well there.”
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Bergstrom plans to major in chemistry at DePauw with the goal of eventually earning a master’s degree in forensics.
“Chemistry is very similar and if I major in that, I’ll have a good background to be a forensic scientist,” Bergstrom said.
There’s still one item left to accomplish with Mattoon. Bergstrom and Comstock set a goal to qualify for state again and top their record from 2018. The duo went 3-2 last May in the double-elimination tournament, winning their match to advance a day in a tiebreaker. They left as honorable mention all-state selections and top-20 finishers.
“Our goal is to hopefully go 4-2 and 5-2,” Bergstrom said. “Go as far as we can.”