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Flournoy ready to be next tennis star at nearby GSW

Bainbridge girls tennis star Hilary Flournoy, front row, center, smiles after signing with GSW on Wednesday. Flournoy was joined by, front row, from left, brother, Ben Flournoy; mother, Terri Flournoy; and father, Drake Flournoy, as well as, back row, from left, personal coach, Mitch Rogers; and Bainbridge tennis coach Amy Thomas. (mike.phillips@albanyherald.com)

Bainbridge girls tennis star Hilary Flournoy, front row, center, smiles after signing with GSW on Wednesday. Flournoy was joined by, front row, from left, brother, Ben Flournoy; mother, Terri Flournoy; and father, Drake Flournoy, as well as, back row, from left, personal coach, Mitch Rogers; and Bainbridge tennis coach Amy Thomas. (mike.phillips@albanyherald.com)

BAINBRIDGE — She didn’t want to sweat.

That was one of the drawbacks of playing tennis for little Hilary Flournoy, who at the age of 10 simply didn’t like sports — and sure didn’t like the idea of perspiration.

Funny how things work out.

She’s off to college on a tennis scholarship now, and she won it so easily. No sweat at all for Flournoy, one of the top high school tennis players in Southwest Georgia and the leader of the Bainbridge High tennis team.

“When I was 10, my grandfather wanted me to start playing tennis, but I didn’t like sports at all. I didn’t play sports,’’ Flournoy said. “I didn’t like to sweat. When my grandfather asked me about playing tennis, I said, ‘Please, no.’ ”

But Wednesday Flournoy said yes to Georgia Southwestern and signed a letter-of-intent to accept a scholarship to play for the Lady Hurricanes. Her grandfather, Walter Collins — the man who paved the way for her years ago — was on hand, along with her parents, brother and friends and coaches at Bainbridge.

Flournoy has led Bainbridge for the past two years, and she’s gone unbeaten in the region since coming to Bainbridge from Tallahassee as a junior. The Lady Bearcats advanced to the Elite 8 of the GHSA state tournament last year, and with Flournoy leading the way, coach Amy Thomas is looking for another deep run in the playoffs. The Region 1-AAAA tournament starts today at Bainbridge.

“She’s a tremendous athlete,’’ Thomas said of Flournoy. “She’s a hard worker and a she’s a leader, a quiet leader who leads by example.’’

Thomas said her top singles player is also humble and focused.

“She has a great work ethic, one of the best I’ve seen,’’ Thomas said. “She is a very serious player, but she doesn’t take her game or herself too seriously.’’

Flournoy is 14-2 this season and was happy to sign with GSW before the postseason began.

Flournoy, an honor student with a 3.8 GPA, plans to become a neonatal practitioner and said she had an easy time making up her mind to accept the scholarship offer from GSW.

“I’m excited (about signing) with them,” she said. “I was on a recruiting website and I had emails from about 300 colleges. I really wanted to stay in Georgia, and I looked at other schools — Valdosta State, ABAC, Georgia State and some other schools. But when I visited Georgia Southwestern, the girls on the team felt like my teammates already. It was just such a good feeling there. I loved everything about it.’’