Even the most generous crystal ball would have fallen short forecasting how Luke Andersen’s four years at Ball State University would play out.
The 2013 Center Grove graduate excelled in the classroom — he graduates this morning with a 3.81 grade-point average and bachelor’s degree in biology — and on the courts as a member of the Cardinals’ men’s tennis program.
Andersen, Ball State’s top singles player, is the Mid-American Conference Player of the Year for a second consecutive season.
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Only this time, he isn’t sharing.
In 2016, Andersen was a co-recipient along with Toledo’s Stjepan Sisko. He is the first player in the history of Ball State’s men’s tennis program to be honored as a back-to-back league player of the year.
“I think I’ve been able to realize my full potential here and outperformed my expectations, for sure,” Andersen said. “I took ownership of my tennis when I got to college by pushing myself outside of practices to do extra work and by not taking shortcuts.”
Andersen, who weighed 195 pounds in high school, immediately went to work improving his diet and endurance his freshman year of college. Fixing the former meant eliminating late-evening meals and snacks and consuming more lean meats and salads.
It worked. The 6-foot-2 senior played at approximately 170 pounds the majority of his college tennis career. An All-MAC selection all four seasons, he finished with a career singles mark of 79-46.
Andersen will remain at Ball State as he pursues his master’s degree in sports psychology. He will serve as the Cardinals’ graduate assistant the next two seasons for Bill Richards, Ball State’s head coach since 1973 and a 15-time MAC Coach of the Year winner.
This gives Andersen a chance to witness the final half of his brother’s collegiate career. Conner Andersen, a 2015 Center Grove graduate, will be a junior for the Cardinals next season.
“It’s very important to me to not only help my brother, but to help the Ball State tennis program sustain its tradition of winning,” Luke said.
Richards is happy to have him back, albeit in a different role.
“Lucas made a commitment his freshman year to do everything he could to reach his full potential. He has worked incredibly hard, not only on his game, but his overall physical conditioning, as well,” Richards said.
“He has set an example for our team with his work ethic, competitiveness and positive attitude. He is a very special young man and will be impossible to replace.”
Name: Luke Andersen
Family: Parents Kim and Martha; brother Conner, 20
High school: Center Grove (2013)
College: Ball State University (2017)
Favorite Mid-American Conference tennis courts: Western Michigan University
Favorite collegiate tennis courts: UNLV