#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#WHILE sitting out a year after graduating from high school, Donte Armbrister made the leap from the junior to the senior ranks last year as a tennis player. Now he is preparing to head off to Hampton, Virginia, to begin his freshman year as a collegian at Hampton University.
#The 18-year-old Armbrister received his acceptance letter on April 13 to attend Hampton University, one of the top four black division one schools in the United States, and to play in the Big South Conference. He’s hoping to head off in August to pursue a degree in business management once the coronavirus is cleared up and the Bahamas government opens the border to allow travel.
#“I’ve spoken to the head coach and he’s excited to have me come there and I’m excited about going there,” said Armbrister, a southpaw who has received a full athletic scholarship.
#Armbrister, the son of Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association President Darnett Weir and Trevor Armbrister, had a sensational junior tennis career that saw him represent the country on over 15 national teams for his country.
#During his journey, Armbrister was able to capture a 12-and-under title in Jamaica, finish as a 14-and-under JITIC finalist in El Salvador, a World Junior National Team semifinalist in Dominican Republic and the lone male tennis athlete for The Bahamas at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games held here in New Providence.
#Armbrister has also won three doubles titles on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Tour circuit and made four singles semi-final appearances.
#He ascended to the senior level by winning the Bahamas men’s national title in 2018. A year later, he was recognised as “Student of the Week” in March, 2019 by the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas, made the Davis Cup team in June in Costa Rica and was nominated “Junior Male Athlete of the Year” in November by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture.
#After taking the year off following his graduation from Temple Christian High School in June, 2019 as the head boy and the recipient of the coveted Principal’s Award, Armbrister said he’s eager to move on to the next phase of his life.
#“I’m very excited,” said Armbrister about making the transition to college. “I feel like I have grown as a person and as a young man. I’m going to be on my own. I won’t have my mom and other persons around to guide me along. I now have to get ready to do everything on my own.”
#Using his motto that has guided his life so far – Philippians 4:13, which states that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Armbrister said he’s confident that he can move on to shape his future.
#During the year off, Armbrister took the time to “give back” to local tennis by volunteering his expertise and talent to the young people of the nation via the BLTA’s “Play Tennis Programme” for beginners on Saturdays. He also participated in the Ranfurly Homes for Children and the Nazareth Children’s Centre junior outreach programmes.
#Armbrister said all those community activities have helped to mold him as a better individual, especially considering the fact that he had to peruse through a number of colleges and universities before he made his final decision.
#“College search is tedious, especially if you want to be a collegiate athlete and trying to find the best fit possible for yourself,” Armbrister said. “This was very important to me. Finding a college that has most of what I’m looking for.
#“I’m excited to explore this new chapter in my life and looking forward to playing some real good college tennis. I also know that getting good grades is important so I’d have to be focused on my studies as well. I thank God for blessing me with this great opportunity.”
#With the country under a 24-hour curfew and weekend lockdowns, Armbrister said he’s making the most of the opportunities he gets to train and stay in shape.
#“It’s tough at times not being able to practice on the tennis court, but I’ve been working on my weaknesses, trying to build up my arms and my abs so I can be better prepared to play at the college level when I go,” said Armbrister, who is being coached by Ceron Rolle.
#“I’m using some workouts from YouTube to help out with my training since I can’t do anything physical with my coach. I’m at a pretty good place right because I know a lot of people don’t have the opportunity that I am getting to play at the elite level.
#Armbrister encourages Bahamians to be patient with all of the procedures that the country has to endure because the coronavirus is serious and it has not just dealt a blow to the Bahamas, but has drastically affected the world with more than 240,000 deaths recorded.
#Like everyone, Armbrister can’t wait for things to get back to normal.
#“The first thing I would do when it’s over is to get back on the court to play a competitive match,” he said. “I’ve been away from the game too long.”
#The BLTA’s public relations committee extends congratulations to Armbrister on his tennis scholarshi