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Union's Brooks SW Virginia Female Athlete of the Year

Kevin Mays • Jun 12, 2020 at 1:00 PM

BIG STONE GAP — Emili Brooks is one for the books.

The record books.

Brooks’ record-breaking efforts in both volleyball and basketball during her senior year at Union earned her Times News Southwest Virginia Female Athlete of the Year honors.

“It’s an honor to be named the athlete of the year, especially with all of the amazing athletes I have played with and against, ” Brooks said.

SETTING THE MARK

Brooks was dominant on the volleyball floor, where she broke both school and VHSL records.

She owns the state record for career kills with 1,819 and ranks third for kills in a season. This past season, she totaled 583 kills, breaking the school record.

“It’s a great feeling knowing that I hold a record for the state of Virginia and for my school, ” Brooks said. “However, I couldn’t have achieved any of those records without my teammates and coaches over the past four years.”

Volleyball coach Kim Moore said Brooks brought something special to the floor when she played.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach a lot of great volleyball players over the years, but Emili is simply the best player all around that I’ve coached, ” Moore said. “Her athleticism makes it seem effortless for her. What’s most impressive about Emili being a four-sport athlete is that she didn’t just play four sports at UHS. She excelled at each and carried her teams to success.

“Emili is gifted with incredible talent that some of us only dream of. Her skills have been fun to watch. She could flat out crush the ball.

“But she’s more than just an incredible athlete,” Moore added. “Her unassuming character is what has made her special on and off the court. She has no idea how good she really is.”

ON THE HARDWOOD

“Emili was a very versatile player for us, ” Lady Bears basketball coach Kory Bostic said. “Her length and athleticism made her one of the top defensive players in the area.

“She also had outstanding offensive ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter and athleticism to get to the basket.”

Brooks and her teammates marched Union to the first Region 2D championship in school history, into the VHSL Class 2 semifinals and to a school-record 24 wins.

A first-team All-Mountain 7 District selection, Brooks added more school records to her portfolio in hoops. She holds school marks for steals in a career (296), a season (106) and a game (10).

Brooks finished her career with 1,131 points, landing her fourth on Union’s all-time list.

The Lady Bears set a goal of winning the state title but fell in the Class 2 semifinals to Mountain 7 rival Gate City, the eventual state champion.

“I wish the season would have ended differently, but I’m proud of all the things we accomplished as a team this year, ” Brooks said. “It was great making it that far into the state tournament and being able to play those games so close to home.”

THE FUTURE

Brooks, like many her age, is not entirely certain about her future. She committed to the Virginia-Wise volleyball program earlier this year and could be an instant factor for the Cavaliers.

“I’m excited to see what she can do at the next level, ” Moore said. “I don’t believe she is close to reaching her peak or full potential yet as a player or person.”

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