For the past four years, Lambert’s Brooke Despriet has been a staple of tennis in Forsyth County.
In all three of her full seasons, Despriet and the Longhorns won three region championships and appeared in three Class 7A state championships, winning the title in 2019. On top of that, Despriet won Forsyth County News Player of the Year the past three seasons.
“I really wasn't expecting the win this year,” Despriet said. “I don't know, I'm really grateful to get these awards, but I would say I mean I feel like I earned it with my hard work. At the same time, I think everyone on my team helped me get here.”
Six seniors graduated from the Lambert team in 2020, leaving Despriet uncertain on if her team would be able to once again make it to a state championship.
“I was kind of nervous about a whole new team and not sure what to expect,” Despriet said, “but out of all four years of my high school, this was the strongest team. Even kids who weren't in the lineup for state were so amazing. Although we didn't win, at the end of the day, I feel like we had the best team.”
Becoming the oldest girls on the team, Despriet and Katie Lewis were named captains of the team. Lewis and Despriet not only became great friends throughout their time on the Longhorns tennis team, but Lewis became Despriet’s good-luck charm. If she started playing poorly, she would get Lewis’ attention and make sure she came to watch the remainder of the match.
“I didn't want to make it seem like I was controlling, so I reminded them everyone's equal and no one's worse than the other,” Despriet said. “We're all a part of a team, and we just need everyone on it. Hopefully they felt that way, too.”
Leadership on a team was not something Despreit had a lot of practice in. Despriet said she was always chasing her sister, Taylor Despriet, on the tennis court. Though she was always competing against her sister, she looked up to her tremendously.
Now, as Despriet leaves behind a young Longhorns team, she hopes to be remembered as a role model for them like her sister was for her.
“I would say no matter how bad your results can be sometimes, just stick through it and be patient with the process,” Despriet said. “Hopefully, your hard work will pay off.”
With the eldest Despriet playing collegiate tennis for Southwestern University in Texas, Sewanee College of the South will gain its newest player in Brooke Despriet.
“They were a school I knew I liked, so I talked to the coach,” Despriet said. “It was one of the best phone calls I had. He was so nice, he talked so highly of all of his players. He told me they're a really tight team. They travel all the time, which is really important to me. They’re all just such a great group of people.”
For the 5-year-old girl first falling in love with tennis, playing collegiately finally fulfills a lifelong dream for Despriet.
“How cool that I’ve gotten to play in tournaments against the best girls in the country and now I get a chance to continue playing at getting better,” Despriet said.
Though her time at Lambert is coming to an end, Despriet does not think that Lambert’s reign as one of the top tennis programs in the state will end any time soon.
“They have a chance to win the whole thing next year,” Despriet said. “The team that we played this year was really good too, but I mean if we can find new players that would be good, I think we have a serious chance.”