Laurel Springs Senior Andrew Meier Signs With Indiana University
The first time Fort Wayne, IN, native and Laurel Springs School student Andrew Meier picked up a tennis racket, he planned to just hit balls back and forth with his mom, a former tennis player herself.
A decade later, inspired by his mother’s passion for the sport and his own spark for greatness, Andrew now maneuvers his days around intensive training, finding support at both B.A.S.E.C. (Balance, Agility, Speed, Explosion, Core) Tennis Performance Lab and Smith Tennis Academy in Indianapolis with Bryan Smith.
His tennis lessons started in fourth grade, and after six years of competitive play, his hard work paid off when he signed his commitment in November with Indiana University for NCAA Division I tennis.
I like the fact tennis is an individual sport,” Andrew, a former student of Fort Wayne’s Homestead High School, says. “I’m not really depending on other people [in tennis]. I like to problem solve by myself and I’m really independent.”
Meier’s Path to Becoming a Hoosier
Independence and tenacity are must-haves to stay on the path that Andrew is walking.
He currently lives two hours away from his parents and childhood friends and wakes up with the sun to alternate between his Laurel Springs classwork and tennis practice. He splits training time into specific elements of his game. The programs have seen athletes move on to Northwestern, Stanford, and IU, where Andrew will soon play.
The sun goes to bed before Andrew does; his days are often concluded with one last training session before finally calling it a night. When asked how he finds time to sleep, Andrew casually laments “it’s tough” to be in bed before 11 pm most nights, with his last practice typically wrapping up at around 9:30 in the evening.
The biggest challenge of note right now is not the rigorous athletics or keeping up with schooling. Flexibility through asynchronous education allows him that, he says. Sacrificing time with family has been—and continues to be—the most difficult aspect of student-athlete life.
“The family time is huge, but even just the sacrifices in general, with social aspects like hanging out with my friends and stuff,” he says. “There were a lot of fun things I missed out on, but hopefully in college, it’ll all be worth it.”
Maximizing Potential in Tennis and Beyond
Laurel Springs has helped Andrew maximize his training potential. He can either start his schooling early in the morning before his first session, in the afternoon after his first sessions of practice are complete, or even after the sun goes down.
“I really like the flexibility aspect,” he said. “That’s the number-one thing for me.”
The sacrifices do eventually pay off. Right now, Andrew believes his biggest accomplishments are just finding the time to be a great athlete and even greater student and giving his John Hancock to IU for tennis.
The time management between school and tennis is really difficult. Just the fact I can accomplish both things at one time is huge,” he says. “… and it’s been a dream for a while [to play tennis at IU]. When I was a freshman, I made this goal that I wanted to play Division I. As I went on, I got better and better and better. Signing just felt amazing. IU is the perfect school for me.”
Andrew plans to major in business, and already has jump-started his entrepreneurial journey; he currently (somehow!) finds the time to run a small social media and freelance graphic design business on the side.
“I really enjoy doing social media. I think it’s a good prerequisite to whatever I may do in the future because I can learn about the business side and develop my skills as a graphic designer,” he says.
As far as where he sees himself in five years, Andrew is taking everything “one day at a time.”
“I’m not going to set a limit for myself,” he says, mulling the possibility of a professional tennis tour after college. “Maybe being ranked on the pro tour, maybe I’ll travel a little bit after college before I start a job. The independence I have that drove me into tennis is the same in the career aspect. I want to do something entrepreneurial.”
There are many challenges unique to the tennis court that wouldn’t apply to the baseball diamond or football field. The biggest difference, Andrew reaffirms, is individuality.
“The individual aspect is so challenging because all eyes are on you,” he says, explaining that the sport uses a 16-point ranking system based entirely on the individual player’s performance.
“There’s so much pressure because every game you win and every game you lose contributes to that ranking. I think overcoming that is really beneficial for life because there’s a lot of pressure in life. So there’s a lot of life skills in tennis.”