Allison Brooks admits, at the time, choosing between soccer and tennis was not easy.
But, in the end, she’s a Brooks and that means tennis.
“I always knew the success my family has had in tennis and that really encouraged me to try to be a part of that,” said Brooks, a senior at Wilmington High School. “I had a very hard time making the decision of tennis over soccer.”
It turned out pretty well, though.
Brooks is 83-21 in her high school career. The 83 wins is a WHS girls tennis record that she’ll add to the rest of this regular season and into the sectional tournament, which begins next week.
Though she dabbled in both basketball and track/field, it was mostly likely Brooks would be part of the WHS girls soccer program.
“Soccer was a very big part of my life up until my freshman year, when I had to make the extremely tough decision of soccer or tennis,” said Brooks. “To this day I believe that if tennis and soccer were different seasons I would still be on the soccer field.
“I have a special bond with the girls soccer team. I have worked out with them since day one of summer workouts freshman year and coach (Kerry) Lewis has always accepted me as one of his soccer girls even though I am on the tennis court.”
Brooks didn’t begin playing tennis until 2010. Her father Lyle was working out with her brother Alec as he prepared for his freshman tennis season at WHS.
“Of course, I, being the youngest, wanted to do anything my older brother did,” Allison said. “When I started I was far from being a tennis player, but as my interest grew my dad was always there to play with me. I did not take tennis extremely serious until the summer going into my freshman year. My dad and I took advantage of every opportunity we had to get out on the court and bang the ball around. That is when my tennis journey began. I never really played tennis recreationally; I dove into the sport head first and have not let up since.”
As a freshman, Brooks went 19-6 then 24-6 her sophomore year. She slipped back to 18-8 last season but has been virtually unbeatable this year at 22-1.
In conference play, either the current South Central Ohio League or the former Southwest Ohio Conference, Brooks is a combined 36-3 and has earned three all-conference first team honors. A fourth is a mere formality.
“Tennis could potentially influence my decision of where I decide to further my education,” she said. “So far tennis has opened my eyes to schools I may not have thought of if it were not for their interest in my tennis. I have really enjoyed my high school years of tennis more than anything and would be thrilled if I could continue to play tennis.”
Lyle Brooks played at Wilmington back in the 1980s. He and sister Lyn were on the same WHS boys team that won several SCOL team and individual titles under then coach Gary Downing. Lyn went on to play tennis at Bowling Green State University where she earned All-Mid American Conference honors. Lyn is a member of the Clinton County Sports Hall of Fame.
In addition, Lyn and mother Lucy Brooks, Allison’s grandmother, teamed up to finish second in the National Equitable Insurance Family Tennis Challenge, which ended at the U.S. Open site in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Brother Alec earned All-SWOC honors and helped the Hurricane to a team championship in tennis.
“So to say tennis is in my blood is an understatement,” Allison said.
And to say her family has supported her, well, it goes without saying.
“I dropped all other sports to keep my focus on my studies in school and my love for tennis, hoping both of them lead me to a successful future,” said Brooks. “My passion for tennis has grown immensely over the years and I am waiting for it to hit me that this is my last season as a member of the WHS girls tennis team. There have been many people through the years that have influenced and supported my tennis career. My family has always been there to help me in whatever way they can and provide me with more support that I could ever imagine. The support system I have during tennis made up of close friends and family members is truly amazing. It is so awesome to look behind my court at any given match and have 20 people watching and cheering me on. I have to give a big shout out to my coaches Doug Cooper and Steve Reed for all the amazing support they have shown for me in the past years. They are always there to help me not only on the court but in the classroom. They have always been there for me. It has been such an awesome journey and I can’t thank the people that have influenced and supported me enough.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports.