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Examiner
  • UMKC programs are best medicine for Jaguars' Monaco

  • The rumors were swirling around the Blue Springs South tennis complex without benefit of the unseasonable spring breezes that caught many of the Jaguar and Rockhurst players off guard.

    “Did you hear,” whispered a member of the South tennis team. “Nick got in.”

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  • The rumors were swirling around the Blue Springs South tennis complex without benefit of the unseasonable spring breezes that caught many of the Jaguar and Rockhurst players off guard.
    “Did you hear,” whispered a member of the South tennis team. “Nick got in.”
    A mom leaned back and told a member of the Jaguars’ cheering section, “No matter what happens tonight, it’s going to be a great night for Nick and his family.”
    Even South coach Sheri Rehmer and former Jaguars standout Bret Berryman got in on the conversation.
    “When you talk to Nick after his match,” Rehmer said, “you might want to ask him about UMKC.”
    Berryman, who is now a member of the UMKC tennis team, added, “I’m so stoked that Nick’s coming to UMKC. I can hardly wait.”
    For the past two years, Nick Monaco has worked toward getting accepted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City six-year BA-MD program.
    It’s one of the most competitive medical programs in the nation, with just more than 100 of the nearly 1,000 applicants getting accepted, and enables those in the program to graduate in six years total with a bachelor’s degree as well as a medical degree.
    While he was playing Rockhurst’s Andrew Edmonds Wednesday afternoon in the No. 1 singles match between two of the most respected and successful teams in the state, the word began to spread that Monaco had been accepted.
    “He’s in, I know it,” Berryman said, “but you have to talk to Nick about it. It has to be official.”
    Monaco dropped a classic match to Edmonds, his longtime friend and rival from Rockhurst, 6-2, 4-6, 10-8.
    As he came off the court, he accepted handshakes from members of the Rockhurst and South tennis teams, South students and family members.
    Monaco, a young man who takes the term competitive to the next level, then smiled.
    You usually don’t see a smile on his face following a loss, even following a match where both players left everything on the court and the outcome could have gone either way.
    But this smile was genuine.
    It transcended the game of tennis.
    “It’s totally unofficial,” Monaco said, “but I think I’m in.”
    To be officially accepted into the program, an applicant must receive the official letter from UMKC.
    “I don’t have the letter – yet,” Monaco said, “but my dad has talked to some people, and I think I’m in.”
    Following the match against Rockhurst, which the Jaguars lost 8-1 in an outcome that was actually closer than the final score might indicate, the Monaco family went out to dinner.
    Page 2 of 2 - Following dinner, Nick’s father, Dr. Michael Monaco, looked in the mailbox and there was a letter from UMKC.
    “I couldn’t believe it,” Monaco said about two hours after the match against the Hawklets ended. “It’s official. The pressure is off my shoulders. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to school, and I’m going to my dream school.
    “It’s perfect! It’s amazing! I wish I could tell you how I feel, but I just can’t describe it.”
    Not only is Monaco going to be a part of the UMKC medical program, he’s going to be reunited with former South teammates Berryman and Nick Hays.
    “It will be like a homecoming,” Monaco said. “My family and I have thought about this for such a long time. It was a hard decision to take last year off (from high school tennis) to compete in the Missouri Valley.
    “But I think that paid off. The coaches I needed to see me play were able to see me play. My dream was going to UMKC, getting in the medical program and playing tennis.
    “How many high school seniors can say their dream just came true?”
    Now that he knows where he’s going to college, he believes his tennis game will take on a whole look.
    “I talked with Coach Rehmer today and told her I’m going to ramp everything up,” Monaco said. “I’ve been thinking about college for so long, and now, all I have to worry about are my high school classes and my senior tennis season.
    “I’ve always worked hard at everything I’ve done. I’m going to get mentally and physically stronger and am going to make this a special season.”
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