Tennis player Brooke Blackwell is in the midst of a 23 game winning streak. Photo Courtesy of Facebook.

NCAA athlete, ROTC cadet, junior psychology major—usually such a list would be in reference to three different college students. Brooke Blackwell, though, wears all three titles.

What is more surprising is that it has not slowed her down one bit. An ambitious tennis player, Blackwell is currently in the midst of a 23-game winning streak. She has won every regular season match she’s played since the season-opener of the 2009 season.

Her success may seem astounding to students who barely manage to find time to balance classes without participating in other activities. But Blackwell does not make light of the challenge she has taken upon herself.

“It’s really tough,” she said. “I have ROTC for two hours every morning, then classes, then tennis practice and sometimes even night classes after that.”

Regular ROTC was not even enough for her—she’s participating in the ROTC Ranger Challenge, a competition between several schools in certain ROTC skill sets.

Although she usually keeps tight control on her schedule, her activities do occasionally collide. She showed up on the second day of the George Mason University Invitational tennis tournament with a neck brace.

She had been rappelling down the side of Fenwick Library when she slipped and suffered a nasty case of whiplash.

In addition to the injury, she was sick. But she didn’t miss a beat when asked if her injury would sideline her for the following week’s tournament; it was a definite “no.”

Blackwell’s toughness is well known to women’s tennis Head Coach Stephen Curtis. “She has a saying she tells me: ‘I’m t-u-f-f tough,’” said Curtis. “No, I say t-u-f tough,” she corrects him. Such is her personality. Even in the midst of injury, she has the spirit to correct her coach on an inside joke that he has gotten wrong.

Blackwell has relied on her toughness throughout her tennis career. She earned two letters at George C. Marshall High School in Fairfax. That translated into an undefeated season in 2007 and the Liberty District championship title.

Her success on the court has only been continued here at Mason. She went 15-10 in singles for her first season and a staggering 19-1 last year.

So what is the secret to her success? Well, she cannot say for sure, but like every athlete she has her share of on-court rituals.

“If I don’t win at least one of the first two games in a set, I won’t have anything to drink after the second game. I know it’s unhealthy, but,” she says as she smiles knowingly, “I usually win one of them.”