Bobcat tennis standout Cade Sherman epitomizes phrase "student-athlete"

Written By: Shawn Wansley
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Date Submitted: 2011-06-07 11:36:11

 By Shawn Wansley

JCJC Sports Information Director

ELLISVILLE – Helping others is what Jones County Junior College tennis standout Cade Sherman is all about.

“You transition from a teenager to an adult when you start becoming involved in the community,” said Sherman, who just completed his sophomore year with the Bobcats. “It shows you care not only about yourself, but you also care about others and their well-being. You let the community know you want the best not only for yourself, but for them, too.”

Sherman’s penchant for community service allowed to him to receive the Intercollegiate Tennis Association/Arthur Ashe Jr. Leadership and Sportsmanship Award at the banquet prior to the men’s NJCAA Tennis Tournament on May 15 in Plano, Texas. The award recognizes outstanding individuals at the regional and national level. The award goes to players who have exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.

He was nominated for the award by JCJC tennis coach Mark Easley.

“It was a big thrill,” said Sherman. “Your coach nominates you and I had to write an essay explaining my accomplishments and awards I have received in the past.

“Most of it had to do with community service and different activities I have volunteered for in previous years. I also had to list my philosophy as far as being a leader and showing good sportsmanship.”

By winning the national award, Sherman will be able to head to the U.S. Open in New York in late August.  He and other ITA award winners will be recognized during a special ceremony hosted by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) during Arthur Ashe Kids Day inside Ashe Stadium.

“They have a luncheon and you get recognized in front of all the U.S. Open officials and fans,” Sherman said. “You get to go to their suites and visit, so that’s pretty cool.”

Sherman has some experience with the award. His older brother, Blake, won the award while playing for Meridian Community College in 2008.

“I guess we are the first brothers to win the award,” he said. “That’s pretty nice.”

Sherman’s list of honors is quite lengthy.

He was treasurer of the JCJC honors society, Phi Theta Kappa, served in fundraising for “Relay for Life,” participated in a flu immunization awareness drive and worked closely with the American Red Cross in an effort to gather clothing for disaster relief victims. He is also an active volunteer in helping mentally and physically handicapped individuals compete in the annual Area 17 Special Olympics, which is held at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field each year.

“Doing things like that is important because it allows you to put your name out there and become a respected person,” Sherman said. “I enjoy all aspects of helping people.”

Sherman, the son of Richard and Lyn Sherman, performed well on the courts for the past two years.

He won the MACJC State No. 3 singles title and helped the Bobcats to a second place finish as a team this year. He was second in the Region 23 tournament and helped the Bobcats tie for third place.

The JCJC team qualified for nationals and finished 16th, the best ever finish for a Bobcat tennis team.

Sherman was very pleased with the way the Bobcats played this year, especially in the national tournament.

“It was incredible. I think we won six of our first nine matches and I don’t think that’s ever been done before at Jones,” he said. “The first day we just racked up a bunch of points and we knew we were going to have a successful tournament. The first matches were crucial because they were two points each.

“But the level of play out there is unreal. The top ten teams in the nation basically had one through six foreign players on their roster. The talent level is so high compared to what we see in Mississippi, where most of the teams here only have two international players.

“We fought hard and competed, for sure.”

During the regular season, Sherman went 10-2 and teamed with Sam Thorold in No. 1 doubles to go 8-4.

Sherman also shined in the classroom.

He had a 3.66 GPA, while majoring in civil engineering. He received a Presidential Scholarship at JCJC and earned his Associates of Arts degree. He was also the salutatorian of the 2009 West Jones High School senior class.

In the fall of 2010, he was elected Mr. JCJC by the student body.

He will begin class this fall at Mississippi State University, where he will continue to seek a civil engineering degree. He wants to use that degree to continue to help others.

“I’ve always wanted to go into engineering,” he said. “I excel in math. But recently I’ve decided to switch to civil from mechanical because I want to get into the water or construction industry. That will open up the opportunity for me to go overseas and I really want to do mission work using my engineering skills. That’s where I am headed after my degree.

“I’ve been a Bulldog since I was born and I’ve always wanted to go to State. I could have gone somewhere and played tennis, but I was just not going to go professional. I chose the school route, but I will continue to play league tennis.”

Sherman is currently using his time and skills to serve as a camp counselor at Ridgecrest Christian Camp in North Carolina. He has been there since June 2 and will stay through Aug. 5.

“I did it last year and wanted to do it again this summer,” Sherman said. “You basically be their friend and counselor and try to be there for them.”

At the conclusion of camp, he heads to Mississippi State for the fall semester.

But Sherman will never forget the two years he spent playing tennis for Easley and the Bobcats.

“It’s been awesome. I went to Meridian first, but Coach Easley allowed me to come back after the first semester,” he said. “It’s been amazing ever since I got here. Coach Easley is such a blessing as far as being a supporter, friend and a coach. He is everything you want in a coach.

“We had a good run this year. I think this has been the best team Coach has had here as far as talent, good chemistry and those types of things.

“Being at Jones was everything I had hoped for and I would not change it for anything.”


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