Athlete of the Week: Cox caps stellar tennis career

Socastee High senior tennis standout Anna Brice Cox was recently voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week, but it very easily could be the Lifetime Achievement Award. In the final rounds of her stellar six-year high school career as Socastee’s No. 1 singles player, Cox is leaving the Lady Braves’ program far better than she found it.

“It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been six years but I have really enjoyed it,” said Cox, who leads the Lady Braves into the second round of the Class 5A playoffs today. “We had Senior Night the other night and my parents had a cookout for the team. That was when it kind of hit me that it’s almost over and how much I am going to miss it.”

Not as bad as the Lady Braves are going to miss Cox at No. 1 singles, a position she has held for all six years of her high school career. Her regular-season record during that span is an astounding 105-6 while playing against the top player from the other team each time out. She has also served as a stalwart at the No. 1 doubles spot, and as a bit of an assistant coach as a senior leader.

“Anna Brice is an example of what many years of hard work can do for a player,” said Socastee coach Jason Williams, whose top-seeded Lady Braves enter second-round play today. “She set the bar for the other girls to climb. She will definitely be missed next year.”

Cox has decreased her junior tennis tournament schedule to focus on her final season of high school play, in part because of her enjoyment of the team environment over individual play. She hopes to go out on top in both the team and individual state tournaments in the coming days, but can leave Socastee knowing she made a major contribution no matter how things turn out.

“It’s fun to win and I love to win every time I play, but it’s even more fun for me when the whole team wins,” said Cox, who recently helped the Lady Braves nail down their fourth straight season of winning at least a share of the region title. “I’ve made so many great friends and great memories through tennis that I will never forget.”

Rather than trying to relive her high school experience, Cox is ready to turn the page to a new chapter at the next level. She plans to pass up the chance to play collegiately to become a normal college student majoring in communications or business, perhaps at Clemson. She does plan to continue in the sport at the club level, and the rest of her life.

“It’s a great sport and I will always play, but it’s all I’ve ever done,” said Cox, who first picked up a tennis racket at the age of 4. “Playing a college sport is great but it’s almost like a full-time job. I want to focus on school and enjoy the experience. That’s another reason I want to finish up strong. I believe we can do it.”

Photo by Joel Beachum

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