JONESBORO — Thea Rice, a Hot Springs native who played two seasons at Arkansas, will transfer to Arkansas State and join the team this fall, women’s tennis head coach Kel Lange announced Monday.
“I am really excited to add a player and person the caliber of Thea Rice to our already exciting recruiting class,” said Lange. “Coming out of high school two years ago, she was the best junior player in the south and I cannot wait to see where she can get in this environment.”
Rice joins the Red Wolves with three years of eligibility remaining due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a sophomore, Rice racked up five wins in doubles play while appearing in singles action against Virginia Tech in the shortened season. In her freshman season, Rice went 5-3 in singles play, primarily playing the No. 5 and No. 6 positions. In doubles, Rice was 10-7 as a freshman.
A four-time All-State selection from Lakeside High School, Rice led her squad in overall wins her senior season. She also played basketball and was a three-year starter and won all-conference honors three years in a row.
Her mother, Tracy Webb Rice, is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame after leading Arkansas to four consecutive 20-win seasons as point guard from 1983-87.
Her sister, Tatum, plays tennis for Arkansas while their grandfather, Brooks, is in the Arkansas Track and Field Hall of Fame.
The Red Wolves head into the 2020-21 campaign with several Arkansans expected to play a major role. Xavier transfer Hunter Roper, a Valley View graduate and Jonesboro native, joined the team in May while All-State selection Yasmine Humbert from Bentonville joins the team as an incoming freshman.