Swyter signs to play tennis at UM-Crookston

Perham's Michelle Swyter returns a shot during a match at Wadena-Deer Creek during her senior season. Swyter signed a National Letter of Intent to play college tennis at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. (Jason Groth / Perham Focus)

Former Perham/New York Mills girls tennis player Michelle Swyter signed a National Letter of Intent to join the University of Minnesota Crookston on April 20.

Swyter took a unique path to end up at Crookston; after leaving the competitive sport while attending her first year of college at South Dakota State University.

“It was a really unique decision. The baseball coach actually was one of my customers at the Silver Moon and he recognized me from playing against his daughter’s high school tennis team,” Swyter said. “He just asked if I was still interested in playing tennis and at the time I was looking into transferring to Crookston.”

Swyter and UM-Crookston tennis head coach Krayton Nash talked and Swyter made it official by signing the National Letter of Intent.

“We are excited to add Michelle to the Golden Eagles,” Nash said in a release. “She brings depth and experience that will help raise the level of play on the team.”


Perham's Michelle Swyter focuses in on a return during a match for the Yellowjackets. The former Yellowjacket signed to play tennis at the University of Minnesota-Crookston. (Jason Groth / Perham Focus.)

Swyter adds to a Golden Eagle roster that features Detroit Lakes’ Karlie Renney, Albany’s Samantha Hartung, Winnipeg’s Ashley Chomyn, Windsor’s Athena Dimario Done and Sandy, and Utah’s Latafale Niumeitolou.

Swyter said she was playing recreationally and wasn’t looking to play competitively at the college level. However, she is grateful for the opportunity to play. One of the things she is hoping to do is to take a step out of her comfort zone.

“I’d like to be a leader on the court and off the court,” Swyter said. “I typically tend to be one of the players who steps back and let the other people take the lead. Hopefully, this will get me out of my comfort zone and expand my leadership skills.”

Swyter moved into a tough role in her senior year and became the No. 1 player for Perham/New York Mills. She served as a captain for the girls tennis team and softball team her senior season at Perham. On the court, she was named Mid-State All-Conference for tennis and was a member of the 16th ranked doubles duo with Elle Birkeland her sophomore season. As a junior, Swyter helped the Perham/NYM tennis team to a perfect conference record in 2017.

Swyter said she missed playing the game competitively when she was playing recreationally during her season away from the game.

“Last summer I would just go hit by myself or with my friends and I missed it tremendously,” Swyter said. “I was super, super excited when they just offered it. Even if I wasn’t going to be first off the bench or get to play a whole lot or get a scholarship, I just wanted to play.”


Swyter said Crookston was just a good fit for her after spending one year at South Dakota State University. Swyter plans on majoring in Wildlife Management.

“I was looking to go to a smaller school and I was thrilled that they are a smaller school,” Swyter said. “They are really good agriculturally and they are a good school for my major, which I was super excited for.”

The student-athlete listed as having signed a National Letter of Intent or Offer of Admission to play women’s tennis at the University of Minnesota Crookston has been verified by the Minnesota Crookston compliance office once they sign the National Letter of Intent or once the student-athlete has accepted an Offer of Admission for Minnesota Crookston.

The University of Minnesota-Crookston’s Activities Office contributed to this story.

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