Academics have always been a priority for Madison Cooley.
While the recent graduate of Spotswood built a reputation for her steady improvement and growth on the tennis court throughout her four years at the school, her performance in the classroom was equally impressive.
Now Cooley is getting the best of both worlds as she said she found the perfect match academically and athletically at Shenandoah University, where she will compete and join the women’s tennis team this fall.
“The campus was beautiful and after meeting some of the professors and students there, as well as some of the girls I would play tennis with, I felt it was a perfect fit for me,” Cooley said. “I noticed that the professors really want to see you succeed and the coaching environment is the same way.”
The Trailblazers’ mild-mannered leader wasn’t overwhelming on the field and didn’t always have it easy with a few big games over the ears, but steadily worked his way to the top.
Last season, she was Spotswood’s No. 2 player alongside Meg Dunaway, who is considered one of the greatest players in the program’s history.
“Ever since I was a freshman and got interested in tennis, I’ve thought about the possibility of playing in college,” Cooley said. “I went back and forth whether or not it was manageable and finally decided to [Division III], where academics are valued as much as sports. It means so much to have realized my dream of playing tennis at a collegiate level.”
Cooley leaves Penn Laird with quite a resume from her days on the field.
She was a two-time champion on the Valley District team, won back-to-back district doubles titles with Dunaway, and was the team’s runner-up in the past two seasons. She was part of a regional finalist team for all three seasons she played, and missed the job during the 2020 season due to COVID.
“One of my favorite memories we have as a team this year is the night we won districts,” Cooley said. “It was nice to see how all our hard work in training and pushing each other to get the best out of ourselves paid off. I’m proud of the legacy I can leave at Spotswood. I’m excited to be a part of it.” Making a team has made me a better person and I try to reflect that on and off the pitch.”
The game of tennis has brought a lot of joy to Cooley’s life throughout her career, but it hasn’t engulfed her as much as high school level sports can so often.
The former Trailblazers always remained focused on her long-term goals, her success in the classroom and what she had in mind for the future.
And now, as she leaves for Winchester to continue playing at the next level, she said she feels lucky to continue to experience success with all of this.
“Making my dream of playing at a collegiate level really come true makes all the hard work worth it,” Cooley said. “I saw my years of tennis in high school as preparation for college and I feel it has given me even more motivation. I look forward to meeting others who enjoy tennis as much as I do.”
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