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Perkins inks with Belhaven

NATCHEZ — Cathedral School’s Dwain Perkins Jr. will leave school next week as a state champion and one of the top singles high school tennis players in the state.

But Perkins does not want his tennis accolades to end with his high school career, and he signed last weekend to continue his career at Belhaven University.

Perkins said the opportunity to play at one of the top NAIA tennis programs that puts a big emphasis on tennis pushed Belhaven over his other choices.

“It’s a great program right now,” Perkins said. “They are ranked No. 15 in the nation. It’s a good program, and I want to be a part of it.

“The school surrounds the tennis courts. It’s one of the main attractions. They get around 150 people at home matches.”

Perkins said he had several offers to play at schools including, Tougaloo College, Holmes Community College, Copiah-Lincoln and Meridian Community College. He said he went back and forth with several schools but went ahead and signed last weekend.

“It was a big relief,” Perkins said. “I’m happy to get it over with and happy to have a home and a place to go play tennis.”

Perkins won the state championship his junior season as a doubles player, and this year he made it to the state semi-finals in singles. He said he would like to continue to improve his singles-play, but he will play doubles if that is where Belhaven wants him.

“I will go wherever they need me to go,” he said.

Perkins’ parents, Roslyn and Dwain, accompanied on his trip to Belhaven to sign, and Roslyn said Belhaven is a perfect fit for her son.

“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for him,” Roslyn said.

“Belhaven seems like a wonderful athletic department. It is really structured. He really loves tennis, and it will give him the opportunity to advance where he needs to be.”

Perkins said he wants to spend his summer working out with his friend Jadarius Ealey, who will also head to Belhaven in the fall to play football. Perkins said he also hopes to play tournaments this summer to stay in shape.

Perkins said he is not sure what he wants to study at Belhaven. Business administration, sports administration and sports medicine are all options, he said.

But Roslyn said whatever field Dwain chooses, she believes Belhaven will provide him with a good education.

“(Education) is what I’m more interested in,” Roslyn said. “I’m hoping he’ll get a good education.”

On the court Dwain hopes to continue his development during his college career.

“I want to improve and be the best player I can be,” he said. “I want to get the full college tennis experience and hopefully get to the No. 1 spot.”