Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — When Allie Bussey is competing, she has a laser-like focus.
No one can knock her off of her game.
That’s evident in all of Bussey’s sports — hockey, softball and tennis — and Bluejacket tennis coach Gary Conda sees it first hand in his doubles lineup.
“She’s tenacious on the court,” Conda said. “She has a good attitude, works hard at it and never gives up. She’s won 90-percent of her close matches because she seems to find a way to pull them out.
“It’s kind of rare, but mentally, she’s tough. A lot of the other ones tighten up a little bit. They’re afraid to win as the old phrase goes. She plays without fear, and that works.”
Where does Bussey get that characteristic?
“I’d have to say my dad,” Bussey said. “He pushes me to do my best and be as competitive as possible. That’s been my way since I was little, so it’s my normal thing to do.
“It’s working my hardest and playing to win. I like to win at everything I do. I hate losing a lot.”
To that end, Bussey will do anything, under her power, to be successful.
One of those instances was last
year in a doubles match against Princeton with her cousin Maddy Warner.
She didn’t need Conda to tell her how to play the match. She and
Warner figured it out on their own.
“They were really, really strong at the net,” Bussey said. “We played two back, and we ended up taking that match to a third set.”
It’s that forward thinking that impresses Conda the most.
“She’s aware of what goes on on the court, and her surroundings,” Conda said. “That helps. She’ll come up with ideas, ways to make things better. She’s not always looking for me to give advice.
“She’s trying to figure things out all of the time. That’s probably because she’s a three-sport athlete. She knows how to compete in all of her sports. You can tell. It makes a huge difference. That’s nice to see.”
Bussey is always looking ahead, never behind.
“I’m always thinking steps ahead as far as what my next point is going to be, how I’m going to do it and work as hard as I can to get it done,” Bussey said.
It helps that Bussey has the talent and skills to pull it off, but it’s more than that.
“Her biggest asset is her mental capabilities,” Conda said.
That toughness showed last year when Bussey played with pain in her knee.
“I had to have knee surgery, but I did get to play the whole season,” Bussey said. “I was in pain. I didn’t think too much about it when I played, but I couldn’t run as well as I normally could. I pushed through it.
“It affected me a little bit, but in doubles, it was all about good position.”
Bussey needed her illio-tibial band lengthened in her right knee. She also went through the hockey season with the pain.
Officially healed from that surgery, Bussey is on top of her tennis game.
“I can get to a lot more balls,” Bussey said. “The pain was bad, so it’s a lot better now. I’m very thankful that I had the surgery.”