HOLLAND — Holland High School senior Jonah Gilmore took his time to find the right fit for himself while weighing his college options.


The wait paid off.


Gilmore, the defending back-to-back Holland Sentinel Boys Tennis Player of the Year, has committed to play tennis at Grinnell College in Iowa.


"It was a long process," Gilmore said. "I didn’t do an early decision or anything. I wanted to wait and see all my options. I took three visits there and over the course of visiting I just really loved the atmosphere there, developed a good relationship with some players on the team and the coach.


"I could just really see myself there and thriving in such a positive environment. They have really good academics, too — that’s really foremost and getting to play tennis there was icing on top."


Grinnell, a Division III school, is led by coach Paige Madara, who Gilmore said has very clear expectations for the program.


"The coach had really clear expectations and a really clear, set vision for our team," Gilmore said. "I was really intrigued by that. It seemed like they were creating a really positive atmosphere — demanding hard work and also creating a family atmosphere.


"The teammates were very gracious to me when I visited. I was fortunate to stay with a couple of them overnight. Everyone I met seemed very friendly and I think teammates are a model of a quality program and from what I’ve seen, the program seems to be very high quality."


He’s excited to be away from home and experience a new place.


"I wanted the chance to have an adventure, so to speak," Gilmore said. "I thought going away for college would be a good way to do that and perhaps kickstart something greater in my life, too. As someone who’s lived in the same spot my whole life, I just thought it would be nice to experience somewhere else in the country."


Gilmore was the No. 1 singles player for the Dutch all four years of his high school career. He finished this past season 21-1 (20-0 during the regular season) and his only loss came against the No. 2-ranked player in the state.


"I am incredibly happy for Jonah and know he will thrive at Grinnell," Holland coach Kyle Kreps. "Jonah embodies what Holland High tennis is all about — excellence on the court and in the classroom. Grinnell is getting a fierce competitor who looks to bring the fight to his opponent, all while displaying good sportsmanship. Jonah works tirelessly and is always prepared when he steps on the court.


"Not only is Jonah an exceptional player, he's also a phenomenal person. He has been an outstanding representative of Holland High tennis and I have no doubt that Jonah will continue to do the same for Grinnell."


Gilmore’s plans for his first year on campus are clear cut.


"They’re bringing in a good class of recruits and I expect there to be some competition," Gilmore said. "They’re also returning a decent number of seniors, so obviously, I’d love to make the lineup, but I think the main goal for me is to show up at practice each day, give full effort despite my spot on the team, and try to make myself and everyone else on the team better simultaneously."


— Contact Assistant Sports Editor Beau Troutman at btroutman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @BVTroutman.