Match Point: Hayden's Hunter seeks fourth, final state title

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- When she was around four years old, Hayden senior Brooklyn Hunter began playing tennis. Fast forward to a decade later and she's two weeks away from the chance to win her fourth consecutive 4-A State singles championship.

But for Hunter, it's not just a first love--it's a family tradition.

"It's a family sport," Hunter said. "All four of us kids have played and so I guess I just kind of picked up on it."

Should Hunter win her fourth state singles title, she would match the feat her older brother Tommy accomplished in 2016. Before Tommy, the last Kansan to do that was Jack Sock.

Hunter's the youngest of four siblings, with Paige, Blake and Tommy all seeing success on the court as well. Blake and Tommy both played tennis at Washburn.

"I like to compete so I guess that's what keeps me going," Hunter said, "just always wanting to win."

Winning is definitely something Hunter has done. She has a 75-2 record, with her first loss coming from her freshman season and the second from just a couple of weeks ago.

According to Hunter, the loss helped her to re-focus on the sport and to change her mentality.

"It taught me to just always play to win no matter what, and that's kind of where I realized mentally that I need to get better," Hunter said. "I didn't want to crack in later times in the season. So I knew that I had to really get down to business, and that's when I started practicing differently, and focusing on my feet and my breathing."

Another aspect of her mental game Hunter has had to conquer is the expectation that comes with only two losses in a high school career.

"The expectations and knowing that everyone wants me to win was definitely a pressure and something I've had to work through," Hunter said.

On top of all of her success in tennis, Hunter has also played volleyball at Hayden the past four years, and had to make time to practice both sports in the fall.

As a member of the Wildcat volleyball team, Hunter also has three state volleyball championships under her belt.

"My coaches have been really understanding through it all so that has definitely helped," Hunter said. " I couldn't do it without them being understanding."

Hunter's 74th and 75th win of her high school tennis career came Monday night during the Class 4A regionals. The event was scheduled for Saturday, but due to weather delays, was pushed back for two days straight.

With her regionals singles win, Hunter has officially punched her ticket to the 4A State tournament.

Hayden High School also won the team honors at regionals. Sara Comstock and Julia Hammes added the doubles championship for Hayden Monday, while Jenny Voegeli and Allyson Meier finished third. Hunter's fellow singles teammate Marisol Blair finished fourth.

Hayden will host the 4A tournament at Kossover on Friday and Saturday.

No matter the outcome, though, Hunter will continue her tennis career as she has committed to the University of Nebraska-Kearney.