This week is NCAA Division III Week and member institutions across the country are celebrating the second-year event.
Division III Week, which began Monday and runs through Sunday, is intended to recognize the academic and athletic accomplishments as well as the campus leadership and community service efforts of Division III student-athletes.
As part of Huntingdon College's participation in Division III Week, four student-athletes will be featured this week. Huntingdon senior Larry Pritchett is the first featured student-athlete.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Larry Pritchett could have listened to the doubters as a freshman and given up on playing college tennis. But he's glad he didn't.
During the past four seasons, Pritchett has been a key member of the Huntingdon men's tennis program and part of one conference title and two conference runner-up teams.
"Playing tennis for Huntingdon has been even better than I thought it would be," said Pritchett, who received All-Conference recognition each of his first three seasons. "When I came here, I weighed about 100 pounds more than I do now and I was told by multiple people that I would never hit a ball for Huntingdon.
"That motivated me. I put in a lot of time and work to get better and I've just tried to continue to improve. Here I am as a senior and I've been a four-year player. It's been the best decision of my life to come to Huntingdon and play tennis."
Pritchett said the 2012 Great South Athletic Conference championship was one of the happiest moments of his life. This season, as Huntingdon transitions from the GSAC to the USA South Athletic Conference, the men's tennis team does not have a conference and is playing as an independent.
Even though this year's team doesn't have an opportunity to play for a conference title, Pritchett said it has been important for the team to continue to prepare and work like it has in the past. As the Hawks' lone senior, Pritchett has tried to help set the tone.
"This is an in-between year and we don't have a conference title to play for, but it's still important to keep your head up and have the right attitude. The younger guys need to keep their heads up because Huntingdon tennis is just going to continue to get better. We have some great guys on this team and they're going to be bringing in another good class of recruits next year. I think they'll be highly competitive in the new conference."
Tennis isn't the only reason he is glad he chose Huntingdon. Pritchett, who has a double major in accounting and endorsement and business finance, plans to earn his Masters degree and eventually pursue a career as a CPA.
He said Huntingdon has prepared him for the next step. Pritchett said he can't imagine having had a better academic option than Huntingdon and its small-college atmosphere.
"You don't miss a beat when you come here. Academically, I don't believe you can have a better atmosphere," Pritchett, said. "With a small college, you get the special attention that you need and it's great for student-teacher interaction. I'm from a small town and so are a lot of the students here. But regardless of where you are from, the people here are accepting of each other. As soon as you step into this college, within a couple of weeks it feels like you know everybody. It's a great place to be."
Name: Larry Pritchett
Major: Accounting and Endorsement and Business Finance
Hometown: Holtville, Ala.
Sport: Men's Tennis
Athletic accomplishments: Pritchett is a four-year letterman for Huntingdon and has been a member of one conference championship and two conference runner-up teams. He was named to the Great South Athletic Conference team for singles in 2012 and doubles in 2011. He was Academic All-Conference both seasons and was named to the GSAC's All-Freshman team in 2010.
Academic achievements: Pritchett has been on the Dean's List and Dean's List of High Honors at Huntingdon. He will attend graduate school and plans to pursue a career as a CPA.
Campus Activities: Pritchett is a member of SAAC and President of the Accounting Club. In the past he has been a member of the Business Club.