Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Collins siblings bring family atmosphere to Chillicothe Campus tennis team

Alley (left), David and Dakoda Collins compete together on the OU-C tennis team.
The Chillicothe Campus prides itself on having a family-type atmosphere, and that virtue is epitomized by the tennis-playing Collins siblings. David, Dakoda and Alley Collins were all members of the 2012 OU-C tennis team, continuing a family tradition for the Huntington High School graduates who can now include college tennis as their latest sports-related racket.

The siblings have always been close and have used sports as a mutual pastime, from riding bikes on the family farm to playing high school and recreational sports together. It was a natural progression that they would attend the same college campus, pursue the same major of biological sciences and participate together on the co-ed OU-C tennis team.

David and Dakoda, who are both seniors, have played on the OU-C tennis team for two years after taking a physical education class in tennis. Alley, a freshman, just completed her first season. “I saw David and Dakoda playing last year, and it looked like fun,” she explained.

The college tennis experience taps into both their cooperative, and their competitive, sides. “We draw out the competitive nature of each other, and we are not afraid to offer each other advice. Fortunately, we all take constructive criticism well,” David said. “However, when we practice against each other, it gets competitive, of course.”

David compiled a 2-0 singles record and 4-1 doubles mark, placing second in the Ohio Regional Campus Conference tournament, while Dakoda and Alley played doubles together, in addition to Dakoda winning the ORCC tourney at No. 1 singles and Alley claiming the No. 2 singles title.

Playing doubles is a natural for the sisters. “We know what the other one can do, and we anticipate each other’s moves,” Dakoda said. “We know how to push each other and get better.”

“It helps a lot in doubles to know your partner so well,” Alley said. “I feel a lot more comfortable playing with her.”

Their kinship extends beyond the tennis courts.

“Our parents raised us as a close family,” Alley said. “When I first came to school, it was great having my siblings here. I felt instantly comfortable.”

“They are my best friends,” Dakoda said. “With my brother and sister here, I always have a study partner.”

Both Dakoda and Alley were valedictorians of their high school graduating classes.

The OU-C campus setting feels comfortable to the Collins siblings.

“Being from a close-knit family, I love the atmosphere on campus, David said. “Faculty members know you and say ‘hi’ to you when you pass them on the sidewalk.”

The Collins siblings made an impression on the rest of the OU-C tennis team.

“They are great kids from an outstanding family,” OU-C tennis coach Ellen Clark said. “They get along so well, and they have an enthusiasm that carries over to the other team members.”

With siblings who are entering the sixth grade and senior year of high school next year, the Collins family tree continues to grow.

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