Bailey and Allie Albrightson knew pretty quickly that tennis was their sport.
“I go out and play the first game I ever played and I’m like, ‘I’m not that bad,'” Allie recalled. “It’s fun and I like it.”
The question was whether or not their triplet sister, Brooke, would join them.
“I thought Brooke was going to stick with volleyball,” Bailey said.
Brooke was evasive until the summer before her sophomore year.
“It was the first time I played for real,” she recalls. “I fell in love with it and it grew from there.”
Count Dana Helgeson among those who were happy the Albrightsons got into the sport.
“It’s been great fun having them on our team,” the Baldwin-Woodville women’s tennis coach said. “All three learned tennis very quickly and they all made college their first season.”
For the majority of their career, Allie and Brooke were a doubles team, while Bailey was in singles.
“I started playing singles more and loved it,” Bailey said.
Brooke preferred doubles to singles from the start and Allie joked “she didn’t have the energy to play singles” and wanted someone to talk to on the court so the two as a pair made sense natural in more ways than one.
“We were often on the same page,” Brooke explained. The pair could hardly be seen celebrating a point won, but they were pleased with the results.
“We were looking at each other and saying good job,” she continued.
Helgeson replied, “It’s pretty amazing that in the three years they played together, I can’t think of one time when they didn’t get along on the courts. Allie and Brooke were a great doubles team, working hard and having fun together on the courts.
Early this season, the two said it was a goal to reach the state tournament, which they qualified for on its home court as Baldwin-Woodville hosted the section.
“I loved it,” Brooke said. “Our friends came from school to watch.
“We knew every inch of the courts. The dead spots, the best, of which the courts were the most affected by the winds.
The pair went 1-1 in the WIAA Division 2 State Tournament. They started their run with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Katherine Dickrell and Lauren Olig of Kiel.
“After the first game, I was nervous,” Allie explained. “After that we played more comfortably and it was like every other game.”
Chimed Brooke: “We played like it was every other game.”
The tournament ended in the next round with a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Pacelli’s Ella Schroeder and Marissa Stodt.
The pair’s biggest fan knew what was wrong in the opening set.
“I knew they were nervous and getting into each other’s heads,” Bailey said. “The second set, they were playing like themselves.”
Brooke added: “The first set, we weren’t ourselves. Nerves got to us playing on the main court.
After a regular season filled with singles, Bailey moved on to doubles with Katelyn Miller, where her season ended at regionals.
“She has a great spirit and was always up for a challenge,” Helgeson said of Bailey. “All three girls are very competitive and it was great for our team as they pushed each other to become stronger.”
Tennis was important in the family as mom Kelly also played.
“She would come and hit with us if we wanted to play doubles,” Brooke added.
The triplets said they played all sports growing up, but eventually settled on tennis. In the spring, Bailey and Brooke do athletics, while Allie is manager of the boys’ tennis team.
“I don’t like running long distances,” she said.
Playing and winning a game in the state tournament was the No. 1 memory for the pair. Winning a Middle Border Conference championship in doubles this year was No. 2.
“It was very exciting and unexpected,” Allie said.
Brooke also recalled their sophomore match, when they beat Osceola’s doubles team at regionals, earning them a berth in the section. The Albrightsons won the regular season game but lost in the conference, setting the stage for regionals.
“It was one of the best games we have played,” she recalled.
While Allie enjoyed that memory, she had another one high on her list.
“Every time Brooke missed an aerial, I would come from behind, save her and we would get the point,” she said. “They didn’t expect it.”
“Thanks Allie,” Brooke replied.
“Hey, I did too,” Allie replied.
Bailey remembers the win over Altoona’s Josie Recheck, a state qualifier, earlier this year as one of her favorites.
“I played it before and lost pretty badly,” she recalled. “I did my best, I won and I was pretty happy.”
Although all three admitted to eventually falling in love with the sport, they had to learn the mental grind of the sport.
“Coach always says the sport is 80% mental, 20% physical,” Bailey said. “If your mind isn’t in the game, you can crumble, just like that.”
Brooke remembers her first tournament, she was more mentally tired than physically. Bailey remembers playing a three-hour game.
“In the third set, Coach always tells us, it’s about who has the most energy, who wants the most,” Allie said.
Brooke believes her net game has always been the strongest part of her game.
“I loved hitting the ball as hard as I could,” she said.
Bailey touted his ball placement as his strong suit.
“Where my opponent couldn’t get it,” she added.
Brooke and Bailey responded in unison about Allie’s #1 weapon.
“She was very good at hitting lobs,” they said.
Helgeson concluded: “They invested themselves in their game and came to every open court and camp they could. That’s why they’ve been so successful. »
The three are set to go their separate ways after graduation. Bailey will attend Bethel to study nursing while playing tennis. Allie was accepted to the University of Minnesota to major in aerospace engineering while Brooke is leaning towards the University of Northern Iowa and speech therapy.
All three said they would support the Blackhawk tennis program in the future.
“I’m excited to see where (the program) is going,” Brooke said.
Chimed Bailey: “I’d be happy to see them get to team status.”