Brittany Collens earned it, there’s no denying that.
After deciding to focus much of her adolescence to tennis, the senior at Manchester Essex went all in, leaving the Hornets’ program after her freshman year to devote endless hours to her training at the Manchester Athletic Club.
That all paid off for Collens yesterday when, surrounded by friends, mentors and family in the Manchester Essex gym, she officially signed her letter of intent to join the New Mexico State tennis program next fall.
“I’m so excited,” Collens said. “I love it there. It’s a huge school and I’ve always wanted to go to a huge school. The sports facilities are amazing, they’re all new. I was amazed when I went out there with how new and how nice the tennis center was.
“It has the exact qualities I was looking for in a school.”
Collens grew up as a girl who, in her own words, “was into all sports.”
When she was in middle school, though, she decided that tennis was going to be her thing, and it was clear from the beginning that that was a good decision.
While training with coaches Francisco Montoya and Alex Howard at the MAC Tennis Academy, Collens joined the perennially powerful Hornets’ program as a seventh-grader.
As the No. 1.
After tearing through opponents for three years with the Hornets, however, Collens’ aspirations forced her to leave the program.
To adhere to MIAA rules, Collens was unable to train with her Academy during the Hornets’ season, a rule that ultimately forced her departure.
From there on, Collens’ life went down a path atypical to that of a normal high school student.
As a member of an Academy that requires such a commitment that most members must be home-schooled, Collens chose to continue at Manchester Essex.