Meet Boise's very own, made in the USA, Lauren Nicole Megale.
Coach Mark Tichenor's Lady Bronco tennis team is developing into a national powerhouse. They are loaded with outstanding international players from Germany, Spain, Indonesia, Slovakia, Poland, and Thailand. But arguably, Tich's top lady tennis player is a home grown Idaho potato...the Boise variety.
I am a big time Boise State tennis fan. And I enjoy watching the ladies as much as the men. I went to my first 2009 ladies match at the "Bubbles", Saturday, February 7, against Kansas State University. Boise destroyed the KSU team 7-0. That was where I discovered Lauren.
I'll tell you I was puzzled. Who was this new Bronco shot-maker? This young lady was a new face for me…seemed to come out of nowhere…and her focus and intensity were off the scale. I watched her for a set, close out her match…winning easily at #2 singles, 6-0, 6-1, and left wondering…who is she? She is really good.
Lauren is a sophomore. She began the season playing #1 doubles with Pichittra Thongdach, and at #2 singles. Lately she has been alternating at singles, sometimes playing at #1, and has won all but one singles match. The one she lost was against the #10 player in the nation, Clemson's Josipa Bek. Lauren made Bek work for the win. She took her to three sets. Lauren and Pichittra easily beat (ITA #10 singles) Josipa Bek and (ITA #4 singles) Ani Mijacika in doubles, 8-4.
In my humble opinion Megale is a clone of the Belgian tennis super star, Justin Henin Hardenne, who retired at the age of twenty-five, after winning forty-one WTA singles titles, including the French, Australian, US Open twice…and a gold medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics… and $19 million dollars in prize money I might add.
Billy Jean King said of Henin, " Pound for pound, Henin is the best tennis player of her generation."
I have seen Henin play and this writer says Lauren has all the same skills, the same focused intensity, and is playing at the same level as the Belgian great when the Belgian great was a kid.
A wonderful side-bar story is Lauren's dad, Michael, and sister, Whitney, played tennis for Boise State.
Coach Mark Tichenor said, "Her dad played number-one singles and Lauren has played number-one singles and will play more number-one singles. That doesn't happen often at the same school."
I venture to guess it may never have happened.
Arizona State wooed her away for one year…but she saw the light and came back to the town where she was born.
Arizona State is a top twenty program currently ranked #19. Lauren played mostly doubles at ASU in 2008, winning sixteen times. One of her partners was Kelcy McKenna ranked ITA #3 singles in the country.
When Lauren played as an ITF Junior she was one of the best in the U.S. She graduated from Laurel Springs High School in Ojai California, a tennis hot bed of talent development.
Her high school junior tournament record is very impressive. She was a quarterfinalist at Supernationals in singles and doubles in December 2006, a winner of two national opens, Lexington in 2005 and El Paso in 2006, a quarterfinalist in the ITF Junior event in Boca Raton in 2006…and was ranked 18th nationally in the U-18 division. She was ranked #26 in the nation by Tennis Recruiting.net as a high school senior and had a five star recruiting rating.
Lauren won back-to-back WAC Player of the Week honors the weeks of February 2-8 and February 9-15.
Welcome home Lauren Nicole Megale.