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Henline headed to St. Francis

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RETURN: Henline returns a shot during a match for the Vikings this spring.
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SIGN: Jessica Henline signs to play tennis at St. Francis on March 20.

by Eric Andrews - eandrews@h-ponline.com

2019 Huntington North graduate Jessica Henline will be staying in the area as she continues her academic and tennis careers, as the Vikings’ No. 1 singles player committed to attend the University of St. Francis in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, on March 20.

“I love the school,” Henline said. “I was looking at a bunch of different schools and I just really fell in love with St. Francis. It just has a great atmosphere and community in Ft. Wayne and I just went and visited and I really liked it and fell in love with the school and the tennis team, so I just felt like it would be a good fit for me.”

Henline headlined this season’s Huntington North squad in the first singles position, racking up a total record of 16–4 throughout the spring.

Henline’s play this season earned her a spot on the All-District team and landed her on the NE8’s First Team All-Conference list.

“Jessica had a really good season which her record shows,” said head coach Blake Childs. “She was 16–4 overall and 6–1 in conference with her only lost coming to Norwell's Breann Barger, who was one of the top players in the area. Jessica is a very strong player and she has been a great player to have on the team. … Henline has been our (first) singles player for the last three years and has been a steady and consistent player that has been a huge reason for our success the last couple of years.”

Henline’s talent will be a welcomed addition to the Cougar lineup, as St. Francis posted a 4–16 record during the 2018–19 school year. The Cougars fell 9–0 to Indiana Wesleyan in the Crossroads League Tournament Quarterfinals on Oct. 1 after a 2–10 mark in the fall leading up to the tournament.

St. Francis is expected to return eight players for the 2019–20 campaign.

“I’m excited to get to know the girls on the team and really bond with them and connect with them and be able to grow with them as a team and just go through wins and losses together and be there for one another,” Henline said.

Another reason Henline chose St. Francis was because of its proximity to Huntington, allowing her parents, extended family and friends to watch her compete regularly.

Henline is excited to continue her tennis career at the collegiate level to continue to grow in the game she loves.

“It means a lot (to be able to play in college) because I started playing when I was a freshman in high school and I didn’t have a lot of experience,” Henline said. “Going through high school, I’ve been doing well my whole four years so far. I just really fell in love with the game and can’t wait to play in college.”

Henline plans to study in St. Francis’s two-year radiologic technology program, but may later decide to stay all four years to pursue a health sciences degree as well.