Rockdale County tennis player Summer Walker will trade one dog breed for another after this season, as the Lady Bulldogs’ senior signed her National Letter of Intent with the Connecticut Huskies Wednesday afternoon.
Walker committed to UConn over The United States Naval Academy, Cleveland University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Walker said that the Huskies provided a mix of athletics and academics that help lead her to her decision.
“On top of their great athletics, they also have really good academics,” Walker said. “That’s what really drew me to them and a strong academic program was something I was really looking for in a college.”
Along with her high school matches, Walker competes nationally in tournaments. At times, Walker said that balancing school and tennis was difficult, but she believes that it helped her grow as a player in the long run.
“It was really difficult at times,” Walker said. “Some nights I’d be up really late trying to get school work done after a tournament, but I feel like the traveling, competition and balance have helped prepare me to be a collegiate athlete.”
Walker has yet to lose as match as a member of the Lady Bulldogs and was named the Region Player of the Year the last two seasons. Walker helped Rockdale capture the Region 2-AAAAAA title a year ago, while leading the Lady Bulldogs to a Sweet 16 berth in the state playoffs.
After having so much success early in her career, Walker has lofty goals for herself and the Lady Bulldogs this season.
“I would like to not lose a game this season,” she said. “I just want for the team to have a successful season. We always have a great time and I’m looking forward to this year.”
Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said that Walker has been a joy to coach through her three seasons thus far.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” Rockdale coach Stephen Sansing said. “She works hard not only on the court, but in the classroom. I’ve been lucky to have her and her signing today really shows that hard work pays off. She’s a great player, a great student and a great person.”
Walker’s parents, Sulinda and Richard, said that their daughter’s journey has been one of hard work and determination.
“It’s the proudest day of my life,” Richard said. “I can’t take the credit for it-her mother took her under her wing and Summer found a passion for it. She’s worked so hard. She sweats in the summer and sweats in the winter. She never complains. I’m a very proud father.”
Walker joins a Huskies program that went 8-12 a season ago with a 1-5 mark in Big East play. Connecticut is currently 1-1 this season with a win over Quinnipiac.
“All of my coaches and my parents have really helped me reach this point,” Walker said. “My parents, especially, have put up with a lot of stuff with the constant travel. Rockdale County High School and my parents have also been very supportive. Without them, I couldn’t have done this because they worked with me and my schedule to make sure I stayed up on all of my work.”
The Lady Bulldogs begin their repeat bid for a region title in February.