The Brownwood High tennis program is sending one of its own to the next level as Wednesday afternoon Lady Lion senior Mckinzie Adkins signed a national letter of intent to continue her playing career and education at Concordia University in Austin.
Adkins opted for Concordia after receiving interest from Howard Payne, East Texas Baptist and Kansas Wesleyan.
“The atmosphere was very loving and very caring,” Adkins said regarding her choice to attend Concordia. “I'm very appreciative of this opportunity. It means a lot that all my hard work has paid off.”
Adkins has been an integral member of the Brownwood High tennis program, which is coming off a district runner-up finish in 2019 following 2018's district championship — the first for the Lions and Lady Lions in 16 years.
“That took a lot of hard work,” Adkins said of the district championship campaign. “All of us as a team, we grew together and all the hard work paid off.”
Brownwood High tennis head coach Crystal Blazek addressed those in attendance at Wednesday's ceremony.
“I've been here for five years and this is something special,” Blazek said. “I've been coaching 11 or 12 years now and this is the first time I've ever got to witness somebody sign to go play tennis.
“Mckinzie has been a great leader for this tennis program. She isn't a vocal leader, she's a quiet leader that gets everyone together, and she leads on and off the court. She works hard, she puts in the time, she puts in the effort and does a great job. I know her future is bright at Concordia and beyond. She has so much going for her and I'm proud I got to be a part of it.”
Brownwood tennis assistant coach Dalton Hutchins began coaching Adkins more than a decade ago.
“I moved to Brownwood in 2008 and Mckinzie came to me for lessons in the summer of 2009,” Hutchins said. “She was young enough to be more interested in butterflies than working on forehands or backhands. I got to see Mckinzie play tennis from a really young age and grow up in this sport. If I was coaching in college Mckinzie is the type player I would want. She's going to do great.”
As for her expectations coming into the Concordia program as a freshman, Adkins said, “I know I have to play a lot harder and I'm going to have a lot more competition. I have to keep my mind right, focus on God and focus on my team as well.”
Off the court, Adkins intends to major in psychology and become a mental health counselor.