WEST MILTON — During his senior season, Milton-Union’s Nathan Brumbaugh enjoyed plenty of success with the football team in the fall and basketball team in the winter.
The season he was looking forward to most, though, was spring.
“I was really excited about tennis season,” Brumbaugh said. “I was hoping to excel in that one the most.”
But even though the boys tennis season in the spring was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Brumbaugh still found a way to further his tennis career, signing his National Letter of Intent to attend in the fall and play for Cedarville University, a member of both the NCAA Division II and National Christian College Athletic Association playing in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
And the Brumbaugh family is no stranger to Cedarville University, either. Fellow Milton-Union graduates Matt and Philip Brumbaugh — Nathan’s cousins — also played tennis for the Yellow Jackets.
“I have watched Matt and Philip, both my cousins, play there, and I really liked what I saw,” Brumbaugh said. “I went on a visit there, and I really loved the university and how it’s centered around God and everything. And I was really attracted to the tennis team, too. I just love playing tennis, and that’s what I wanted to do in college.
“It just seemed like the perfect university for me.”
In fact, Philip will be entering his senior year at Cedarville in the fall, meaning Nathan and Philip will be able to play on the same team for the first time since Nathan’s freshman year at Milton-Union in 2016-17.
“Philip will be a senior this year, so we’ll get to play together again,” Brumbaugh said. “I’m really excited about that, too.”
Brumbaugh, who plans on studying civil engineering, said that Ohio Northern was another school that was in the running — but in the end, the family connection was simply too strong to ignore.
“Ohio Northern really wanted me,” Brumbaugh said. “And that is a great school. That was another one of my options, and I really did like it.”
After being named first team All-Southwestern Buckeye League each of his first three seasons and qualifying for the Division II state tournament in doubles his sophomore season with cousin Nick Brumbaugh, Nathan was gearing up for a big senior tennis season this year — when the pandemic forced the season’s cancellation.
“That was very disappointing,” Brumbaugh said. “I was working really hard to do my best in the state tournament, and then it’s just gone, you know? It’s a weird feeling.”
Still, Brumbaugh had big fall and winter seasons in football and basketball. As quarterback of the football team, he helped the Bulldogs qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2016. And during basketball, the Bulldogs reached the D-III district final for the first time since 1999.
Brumbaugh also said he very nearly didn’t play football this year, thinking at the time to focus his efforts on spring’s tennis season.
“That would have been really bad,” Brumbaugh said. “One, because I really loved this football season. It was definitely worth playing, even if we had the tennis season or not. But we wouldn’t have even gotten a tennis season, and that would have been extremely disappointing. I definitely would have regretted that decision.”
But now, with tennis to look forward to again, Brumbaugh is busy preparing for the fall at Cedarville.
“Philip and I have been playing a lot recently,” Brumbaugh said. “We’ve been really trying to get ready for the season, be playing our best for the challenge matches and for when the season starts.“