KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Our first non-football Hy-Vee 41 Five-Star Athlete of the Week, for the new school year, was completely shocked to learn she was named the winner.
William Chrisman senior girls tennis standout Ally Cook is not a person that seeks out attention for her accolades. She goes about the business of playing the sport she loves with humility and grace. On the other hand, 41 Action News is certainly not obligated to keep secrets when it comes to the great things various student-athletes accomplish.
"It feels really good because I didn't know that [the award] was a thing, or that it was coming. So, it's a nice surprise," Ally said immediately after being presented with the award by Hy-Vee.
Ally has quite a list of credentials in her high school career.
She finished her high school career as the school record holder with 86 total wins (singles or doubles). Ally also helped William Chrisman win their first-ever conference title with a perfect 5-0 Suburban Middle Seven Conference record and an 11-3 finish to their season. In spite of her own individual accomplishment, she's most proud of the team accomplishment of having a winning record and winning that elusive conference title.
"It's something that honestly unbelievable. And, I don't think a lot of us saw [it] coming," Ally said. "When we started out, we had really small numbers and not a lot of people. But, now we have over 20 girls on the team. And, it's just gonna only continue to grow in, not only numbers but success."
Last week, she won a pair of doubles final matches against Ruskin and Fort Osage respectively. And, she won her singles final match against the aforementioned Fort Osage. She also won her first round district tournament match against Fort Osage on Monday, Oct. 1 which helped the Lady Bears win 5-0 overall.
However, her high school career came to a close when William Chrisman fell to Blue Springs in the district semifinals 5-0 on Tuesday. Head Coach Jason Grubb talked about Ally's growth over the past year of competition.
"As a career, Ally's just a perseverer. She works really hard. She comes to practice everyday with a positive attitude," Grubb said. "She's just a good kid. So, we have a lot of good kids. Ally's just an embodiment of that."
Ally's doubles partner and senior girls tennis player Katie Schaefer has been a part of most of her career wins. They've been doubles partners the last two seasons. She says it's more than just the talent that has made Cook so successful.
"I think it's really helped that we've been friends since Freshman year. So, we like built a friendship before we like started as doubles partners," Schaefer said. "We kind of like knew each other [before] and [as a result] know how each other kind of works. That really like translated onto the court really well. So, we work super well together."
Coach Grubb sees how hard they've worked day in and day out throughout their career. He understands the kind of bond the two of them have had.
"I think the biggest thing for her year is that [she and Katie] just persevered. They've had a lot of close matches. They've played tough opponents. But, they've had to work through it together," Grubb said. "They [had] started to really gel as a team. They kind of mesh each other pretty well. Katie gets it really well. Ally finishes it really well. It's a partnership."
Cook says she has continued to grow not only as a person but as a player on the court.
"I've definitely grown in my confidence. When I first came out, I didn't really know what I was doing," Ally said. " I was kind of timid and I used to just tap the ball. But now, I'm able to attack at the net and play more aggressively. It's really helped a lot."
NOTE: The Hy-Vee Athlete of the Week segment airs every Wednesday night during the 10 p.m. sportscast for the entire school year.