For a long time, Ryan Shomo figured he'd end up a Yellow Jacket.
After a visit to campus last fall, he knew for sure.
In the midst of his final season with the Marshalltown boys tennis team, Shomo signed his letter of intent Wednesday to continue his career at Cedarville University (Ohio).
T-R PHOTO BY TYLER STRAND
Marshalltown senior Ryan Shomo, center, prepares to sign his letter of intent Wednesday to play tennis at Cedarville University. With him for the signing are his parents Kendall, left, and Bobby Shomo, right, along with MHS tennis coach James Christensen (standing).
Attending the alma mater of both his parents, Kendall and Bobby, and joining his older brother, Eric - who will be a senior there this fall, the Bobcat standout already had strong ties to the school before finding even more he liked.
"I really enjoyed the campus and the team," said Shomo of the Division II School that resides an hour west of Columbus.
"I had a lot of fun playing with the guys up there and it seemed like a good fit for me."
While the 2011 state doubles qualifier is excited for the new challenges awaiting him at the next level, his main focus remains on a strong outing at districts and a return trip to state.
To get there, the four-year varsity stalwart fine-tuned his game by competing in United States Tennis Association (USTA) tournaments and taking private lessons in Ames.
"The last few years I've gotten a lot more aggressive and been able to hurt my opponents more than just stay in the points," said Shomo, who has manned the No. 1 singles spot for the Bobcats the past two seasons after playing No. 3 as a freshman and No. 2 as a sophomore.
"I'm looking to keep that going through districts and hopefully state this year."
Shomo's steady schedule against top players has certainly accelerated his readiness for the college game said MHS coach James Christensen.
"Playing in the conference we've played in, Ryan has had very few matches off," Christensen said of Shomo, who sports a 7-2 mark at the No.1 singles spot this year.
"Getting the experience he's gotten has been a great test for what he's going to experience at the DII level."
Combine that with the senior Bobcat's tireless work ethic and fearlessness, and the Yellow Jackets should be buzzing about their new addition.
"Ryan's a guy that just hates to lose," Christensen said. "He prepares himself to win and comes into every match expecting to win no matter who he's playing. He's always going to give his all."
With some added power and strength to his game, Shomo is shooting for a top-six singles spot in his freshman campaign at Cedarville.
"It's going to be a little bit of an adjustment, but I'm looking forward to it," Shomo said. "It's going to be an exciting change."
Shomo's parents will be making their share of trips east to follow those changes and see his progress on the court.
"We've watched him go from playing every sport to really focusing on tennis and playing it year round," said Ryan's father, Bobby. "It's a lot of fun that he gets to join his brother. To have both of them on campus where my wife (Kendall) and I actually met is a joy for both of us."
The Yellow Jackets, members of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference, finished with an 11-13 mark this season in head coach Alan Edlund's 18th year at the helm.
Before hitting the courts in Ohio, Shomo has some more business to attend to at home as the Bobcats host a Class 2A District meet May 9.