Boone Allison isn’t likely to be fazed by the pressure of competing in the state tennis tournament this weekend.
Allison has already taken on more than his share of challenges. In addition to heading into his senior year of high school, Allison will also soon begin his sophomore year of college after completing a year at the Craft Academy on the campus of Morehead State University. Allison was one of 60 in his class accepted into the program due to his academic achievements and will be able to complete two years of college on the Morehead campus while also finishing his final two years of high school.
As a student at both Harlan and the Craft Academy, Allison is still eligible to play sports at Harlan and will represent the Dragons for the second straight year in state competition. He qualified last year in doubles with Wes Farley, advancing to the second round.
He returns this year in singles, the third seed in the 13th Region. Allison advanced to the regional semifinals before being eliminated. The top four in each region advance to state competition.
“It’s a little different game in singles,” said Boone. “The endurance that is required to play singles is a lot different than doubles. I’ve been working in the hard offseason to build up my endurance to play these two-hour matches.”
“Being Boone’s dad, I know how hard he has worked, even before I became coach,” Harlan tennis coach Mike Allison said. “He plays in some Mountain Tennis Circuit tournaments and some USTA tournaments in Asheville (N.C.). It’s been a natural progression with his hard work and love of the game. I’m real proud of him.”
Harlan tennis is a family project for the Allisons. In addition to Mike as the coach and Boone as the top seed, the HHS team also includes Kyle Allison, a freshman, and Adeline Allison, a seventh-grader.
Success in athletics is also something of a family tradition. Boone’s grandfather, Roy, played basketball at Eastern Kentucky University and was later mayor of Harlan while working in the insurance business.
Boone Allison started playing tennis with his dad when he was “9 or 10” and joined the high school team in the fifth grade. He quickly moved up to become the Dragons’ first seed by his seventh-grade season, a position he has held for five years. He became the first player from the county to qualify for the state tournament in singles since Harlan’s Aaron Browning made it in 2002.
Allison’s first-round opponent is Avula Amrit from Bowling Green High School.
“There’s some really tough competition there,” Mike Allison said. “We stayed after Boone and Wes lost in the second round last year. It’s great to go up there, and it will be great experience for Boone as a junior. We hope he can go back next year.”
Reach John Henson at 606-909-4134