Prep Boys Tennis

Seven-Year Itch: Shumake returns to tennis, reaches Class 1A state tournament

QND's Jamie Shumake is heading off to the state tennis tournament in Chicago this week. A senior, this is his first year playing tennis since middle school. | H-W Photo/Michael Kipley
Michael Kipley 1|
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 22, 2018 12:01 am Updated: May. 22, 2018 11:50 pm

QUINCY -- Jamie Shumake quit playing tennis seven years ago.

At age 11, Shumake wanted to try other activities. He first tried tumbling, which he liked. However, he suffered a broken vertebra during the summer before he enrolled as a freshman at Quincy Notre Dame.

"My freshman year, I came to football games, and that intrigued me," Shumake said. "So my sophomore year I jumped into football."

Shumake was on the roster as a linebacker and fullback and even started his senior year.

"I loved it," he said. "I loved the people on the team. The coaches were always willing to work with me because I had never played before."

Shumake only thought about tennis when he showed up to the preseason information meetings during his sophomore and junior year.

"Several players showed up to the meeting and feel it out," QND tennis coach Ben Klingner said. "A few people show up and don't show up at practice. I asked about it, and I was just told (Shumake) didn't want to come out. I was never told about his ability."

Shumake's friends on the tennis team finally convinced him to come out for tennis as a senior.

"They did the old, ‘It's senior year,'" Shumake said. "That got me. I wanted to do something memorable in high school."

Shumake has his own spot in QND tennis history. He finished in third place in last weekend's Class 1A Chatham Glenwood Sectional and became the first Raider to reach the state tournament since singles player Ian Hinkamper and doubles team Cole Anderson and Blake Rupp played in 2011.

That was the same year that Shumake last picked up a racket. It showed in his first few practices and matches, but once Shumake settled in, Klingner saw his talent.

"I saw him hit the second day of practice, and I was like, "Where did this guy come from?" Klingner said. "Then I saw he was playing with the guy I thought was going to be my number one, and he's hitting really good balls.

"I was like, "OK, I know who my number one is."

Klingner said Shumake's fundamentals stood out because he hit like he had formal training. Even after not hitting for seven years, that training stuck with him.

"It's like muscle memory," Klingner said.

Shumake was anxious before his first match against Alton Marquette.

"I kind of blew that game," he said.

Now he's playing at the state tournament, where he'll open against Chicago Northside's Natan Spear in the opening round Thursday.

Shumake also wonders what could have been had he stuck with tennis.

"I could have been a lot better player," he said. "At least a few more trips to state. Towards the middle of the season it clicked, and I knew I needed to pursue this and work at it more."