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Do-it-all McMurry athlete ready for next challenge

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ABILENE, Texas - Multi-sport athletes are common in high school, but not so much in college.

Thierry Tchenko is showing he can be one of the few. The McMurry senior has made a habit of that, on- and off-the-court.

Tchenko was born in Houston, becoming the first person in his family to be born in America after his parents moved from Cameroon, a country in central Africa. Tchenko came to McMurry to play basketball and was a two-year captain.

"There isn't a better [person] that I've met in my two years here, and it goes way beyond sports," men's basketball coach Zack Pickelman said. "Great kid, great person, great voice in the locker room.

"Although maybe his playing time wasn't exactly where he wanted to be he still came to practice everyday, did his best and was a great role model for our guys."

Following his senior season, Tchenko switched courts -- from the hardwood of basketball to the synthetic of tennis.

"It's different," said Tchenko on the transition. "There's been a learning process to it, but it's been great. It's honestly been awesome."

"When he came out here after three, four years of basketball, I was like, 'Coach, I don't know if he can be my partner,'" said Logan Daniell, Tchenko's doubles partner. "He said, 'Just go with it and see how this one match goes.'"

Daniell and Tchenko won three of their first four matches, and have been a team ever since. Tchenko played tennis in high school, and was named team MVP his freshman and junior years.

Although Tchenko is an accomplished athlete, his successes will undoubtedly be surpassed by what he does in his favorite field.

"I love politics. I think it's a God-given passion," said Tchenko, a political science major who will has been accepted to Georgetown University for his Master's degree in American Government.

"When we think about politics there's always a negative connotation to it. And I can even understand that, but the ability to help people through legislation is something that I love.

During the fall semester of his sophomore year, Tchenko left McMurry and worked as a field organizer in northwest Houston where he was in charge of community events and coordinating with volunteers.

"It's practical politics at its best. Meeting with people and hearing people's stories is always great, and getting a better understanding of how to help people and how to help communities prosper in the future.

Tchenko's accolades did not stop there. He is the president of McMurry's student government, and was invited to Washington, D.C. for the National Prayer Breakfast in February.

To reach that level, he was first invited to the National Student Leadership Forum in October. From that group, 70 to 80 students were selected from that group to attend the National Prayer Breakfast.

"The President was there. I was at a dinner with the Vice President. That was an awesome experience."

Tchenko said his Master's program will be split 50-50 between learning in a classroom and working in the political landscape of the nation's capital.

"Seeing how certain laws that are put into place end up benefiting people, and giving people a chance at succeeding in life, that's something that is priceless to me."

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