BY LEANN DILBECK –
One Mena athlete has been named to the Arkansas High School Coaches Association’s (AHSCA) prestigious All-Star list, an accomplishment she is no stranger to. Brooke Hines, a Senior Ladycat, has been dedicated to the sport of volleyball from a very early age.
Brooke is the daughter of Robby and Sherri Hines. Her mother, a former Ladycat herself, said that as soon as Brooke was old enough, she began playing around with a volleyball with her at home, “but it wasn’t until she was 13 that she started playing on a club team out of Fort Smith.” For three years, the family made the commitment of traveling two nights a week for practice in Fort Smith and then tournaments as far as Dallas, St. Louis, Kansas City, and of course, Arkansas.
Brooke’s impressive volleyball career includes also playing for Velocity for two years. As a member of the Ladycat volleyball team that brought the first State Championship to Mena High School in 2014, the team was destined for success early on: 2012 District/Conference Champs, and State runners-up in 2013 and 2015. Brooke was named All Conference 1st Team in 2015 & 2016, All State in 2015 & 2016, Best Setter for 2015 and served as team captain her senior year. Brooke is also a success off the court, maintaining a 4.3 GPA and has simultaneously earned 23 college credits upon her high school graduation.
As one might imagine, her father Robby is very proud of his daughter’s accomplishments, “She is a wonderful role model for her younger sister as well as the young girls who attend and play sports at Mena High School. As a young girl of 9 or 10 years old, she learned to play volleyball from her mother. We continued to take her to all sorts of camps and games to work on her skills. We have spent many nights on the road playing and returning from weekend games. Through it all she has remained an extraordinary student of both life and her game. She is one of the top in her class. With all of the success that Mena High School has had in volleyball, Brooke can truly say that she has left the Mena High School volleyball program even better than when she came!”
If there is a volleyball gene, Brooke was certainly in line to receive it and absorbed the same passion for the sport as her mother. Sherri said, “I played volleyball for Mike Hobson and Karlene Hooker, whom I have the utmost respect.” This summer, Brooke will once again be playing in the same All-Star game her mother played in 24 years ago. Sherri said she always encouraged Brooke to give her all to the sport, “We always told her as parents, ‘God gives you the talent, we will give you the time, money… and take you anywhere you want to go, but always give 100% and when you are finished, hang it up.’”
Brooke is grateful for her family’s support and those that have gone before her paving the way, “None of my successes would have happened without the big man above, my God! Isaiah 40:29 says, ‘He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, He increases strength.’ My parents pushed me every step of the way… then my sister! She’s my biggest fan on and off the court. Thanks to the Ladycats before us for paving the way.”
Despite being made offers to play in college, Brooke has made the decision to “just be a student” for the first time in several years. She’s eager to share her passion and knowledge of the game and is already investing in the next generation of volleyball athletes, presently coaching 13-1’s Mena Velocity team. She is instilling the same commitment to the sport as was taught to her by her mother and tells the kids, “When you just don’t want to go to practice, you’re tired… or you’re sore, push through. It will always pay off in the end!”