Brooke Mackno faces choices, a lot of them. Sometime in the next few months, the Fairfield Ludlowe senior will decide on a college, sport and career path. She doesn't know which direction she'll go. "Whatever college I get into will determine what I'll do,'' she says.
Brooke, who plays soccer and tennis, is the state's best teenage female skier in Alpine events. She will conclude her high school career with 12 varsity letters, the maximum an athlete can earn. Brooke is also a two-time member of the National Honor Society, a violinist, community volunteer and recreational athlete in kayaking, boxing, rowing and sailing. She also designs her own clothing. That's a broad range of interests. "I've been told, that,'' she agrees.
The focus now is on skiing. Brooke visits Bromley Mountain near Manchester, Vt., every weekend to prepare for the slalom and giant slalom season. For the past three years, she has been selected to the Connecticut State team, which includes the 10 best boys and girls and competes against skiers from the Eastern U.S.
"I love the pressure of it,'' says Brooke, who got her first pair of skis when was 10 days old and started skiing when she was 2. "You're given one chance to maximize your full potential and minimize your mistakes. The difference between first and third is hundredths of a second. You are forced to perform."
Brooke's sister, Kelly Lauter, competed in skiing for Middlebury College. Brooke could follow that path: She has been accepted into the University of Vermont to study veterinary medicine. But Brooke is also a soccer standout. She was the captain of Ludlowe's team and competes for the Beachside premier program. She's also a captain of the tennis team, where she does singles, and plays out of the Intensity Tennis Club in Norwalk, a top program for juniors.
"I enjoy all three sports,'' Brooke says. "I really like the change of scenery. ... My parents figured I would find out which sport I like the best and pursue it. I look forward to the change of seasons."
The different dynamics also help her. The fitness she acquires during soccer benefits her in skiing. Brooke also finds that she can pick up where she left off when she returns to a sport. "I came back to tennis the other night after not hitting for three weeks, and I was better than when I left,'' Brooke says. "Sometimes it helps for me take a break. I tend to over think things sometimes. If I take a break, I lose my bad habits."
Brooke has applied to 10 colleges, including the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point and the Air Force Academy. One option is to work as a doctor and fighter pilot. And she is determined to play college athletics, perhaps in more than one sport.
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