Former Okemos tennis player’s gamble pays off B1G time

Becomes second Okemos player to commit to Big Ten tennis program in as many years.
Okemos' Wells' Gamble Pays off B1G Time
Published: May. 30, 2023 at 6:18 PM EDT
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OKEMOS, Mich. (WILX) - After moving from Midland to Okemos, Colson Wells wanted to play tennis for his high school.

In just one year at Okemos, Wells played a key role in helping lead his team to a Division 1 state title back in 2020.

But after reaching that milestone, Colson was hungry for far more.

So Wells went all in on the sport, becoming homeschooled full-time, while in the process becoming a student of the game full-time.

Ever since, Wells has been wearing out the ball machine at Okemos’ Court One Tennis Club, chasing a childhood dream.

“I had always kind of like talked about it., With traveling for the tournaments and going online and because of Covid and everything and school being online, it was easy for me to just stay online,” Wells said of the decision.

A native Michigander, since a young age, Wells had dreams of playing college tennis in the Big Ten.

After taking some lumps early in his junior United State Tennis Association career, he started getting noticed.

“My first official was to Nebraska and then that was quickly followed by Ball State, Western [Michigan],” Wells said of late interest from Division 1 programs.

Better late than never, Wells’ first offers came last fall of what would have been his senior year in high school.

But he was still holding out for that Big Ten school.

And with time not on his side, Wells bet on himself instead.

“I just kind of knew that I wasn’t going to be happy if I made the decision to take the easier route. And so I turned down the offers that I had from non-Big Ten schools,” Wells said. “It was a little bit of a risk because I didn’t have any Big Ten offers yet and I just told myself, we’ll see what happens if I get a lot better.”

Wells got better.

A lot better, as he started turning out some impressive results in some of the biggest junior tournaments, as a result, working his way up to number 1 in the USTA Boys’ 18′s Midwest rankings and number 11 in the nation.

Colson’s gamble finally payed off, where after a strong connection was formed with Nebraska, shortly after they offered the late bloomer and in early February, Wells made his dream a reality, committing to play Division 1 tennis in Lincoln.

Wells took an unconventional and uncertain path to fulfilling his dreams, but he’s hopeful that others see what he had to do and just what goes into trusting in yourself.

“Number one, that hard work does pay off, staying committed, staying on the grind really helps you achieve your goals and your dreams,” Wells said.

Now getting ready to face a new challenge, Wells knows Nebraska is on the up-and-up in what figures to be a top two or three conference again in college tennis in the fall, but he will continue to bet on himself, surely keeping expectations as high as he can.

“Right now the goal for me is line up. Only the top six guys play on a team. So if I can be one of the best players in the Big Ten, it means I’m one of the best players in country,” Wells said.

Wells joins former Okemos standout Ozan Baris, who just concluded his freshman season at Michigan State, as the second Okemos product to go on to play collegiate tennis at a Big Ten program in the past two years.

Wells left for Lincoln last week to settle in and take part in summer workouts before kicking off his season in the fall.

Colson will return to Michigan in early August as he plans to make one final run in the USTA Boys’ 18s and 16s National Championships in Kalamazoo, where the winner earns an automatic entry wildcard into this year’s US Open in New York in late August.

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