Cleve Packer, Jr. signs a letter of intent to play tennis with the University of Virginia at Wise Wednesday at Charlottesville High School.

Cleve Packer Jr. was a leader at Charlottesville High School, both as a tennis player and in the classroom.

The recent high school graduate expects to expand both horizons at the next level after signing to play college tennis at the University of Virginia at Wise on Wednesday.

“It’s awesome, a dream come true,” Packer Jr. said. “It takes discipline and hard work. As a kid, I dreamed of playing tennis at the college level. I thank my parents, my teachers and my coaches along the way for believing in me.”

His accolades on the court and in the classroom speak for themselves.

Packer Jr played No. 1 singles and doubles and led the Black Knights to a 12-5 team record. Individually, he advanced to the Class 4D regional quarterfinals in singles. A team co-captain, Packer Jr. teamed with John Emery to boast a 13-3 record in doubles and reached the regional semifinals.

His accolades in the classroom were just as impressive.

Packer Jr. was a member of the National Honor Society and the CHS Link Crew leader for incoming freshmen. In addition, he served as a student panelist for the school’s Parent Teacher Organization for honors and AP classes and is involved in Charlottesville High School’s 100 Black Men Mentee Program.

He had several opportunities to play collegiately, but felt a strong connection with Coach Roger Whited and his vision for developing the entire student-athlete.

“The strong connection to UVa and the fact that I can play collegiate tennis and have an immediate impact in helping the team win,” Packer Jr. said of why he chose UVa-Wise. “I think the coach likes my variety and adaptability in playing singles and or doubles. It is likely I can contribute right away and I am preparing for that role over the summer.”

In the classroom, he has high aspirations as well. Packer Jr. is interested in biology and hopes to pursue a possible degree in pre-Med, but said he is exploring all options.

The goals for Packer Jr. are simple.

“To stay humble, to do well academically and to contribute to the tennis team and through community service,” he said.

Packer Jr. couldn’t be happier the opportunity that awaits him.

“This was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make,” he said. “I was lucky to have a number of great college options. UVa-Wise gives me the opportunity to start my college career at a school that feels like a small liberal arts college with strong ties to UVa. It also allows me to continue to play the game that I love.”

The former Charlottesville High School standout doesn’t take his new role lightly.

“To be a college athlete is a great honor and a privilege with lots of responsibility to represent your school, both on and off the court,” Packer said. “It can help bring people together and instill pride within the college. I am excited to be a Cavalier.” 

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John Harvey covers Central Virginia high school sports for The Daily Progress and CVille Varsity. He can be reached at or (434) 978-7250. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnNHarveyIII

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