Sophomore Coli Downey appears to be one of the few.
Like so many youngsters, Pentucket’s No. 1 tennis player has dreamed of becoming a high school star and, if she’s lucky, a collegiate standout.
Unlike a large percentage of those young athletes, however, Downey is willing to put in the time and dedicate herself to that end.
“Whatever it takes” seems to be her philosophy.
Downey started playing tennis when she was 7-years-old, about a year or two after older sister Rachel, who graduated from Pentucket last year and is now the No. 4 singles player at Simmons College.
“I took a couple of lessons and I just loved it (tennis),” said Downey. “It didn’t take long.”
And, when Downey loves something, it can be all-encompassing. Although she enjoyed soccer when she was younger and was an avid gymnast, she gave up both by the time she reached middle school.
“I liked them, but I wanted to put all my focus on tennis,” she said.
And so she has, year-round. She’s been playing USTA tournaments for years and is currently ranked 33rd in New England in the 16-year-old division.
Downey has attended numerous camps and clinics, has a personal coach she works out with twice a week at the Northeast Tennis Center in Middleton and once a week at a tennis center in Manchester, N.H.
While gradually improving her strokes and overall skills, Downey has always been highly competitive, just her sister, which is why they rarely played against each other.
“We never played much because we argued a lot and would get mad at each other,” said Downey. “Neither one of us likes to lose, at all.”
But last year, they had to face each other in the preseason to determine who would be the Sachems’ No. 1 singles player. Coli won 6-2, 6-1.