Golf would have seemed the obvious fall sport of choice for Bobbi Stricker.
After all, the Waunakee freshman is the oldest of PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker's two daughters and has been playing the game her father makes his livelihood in since her early youth.
But Bobbi Stricker's true passion defies convention.
Drawn to tennis by her close relationship with the Chorney family, Stricker and senior Allie Taylor became the first Warriors doubles team in program history to earn a seed at the WIAA Division 1 individual state tournament this season.
The Waunakee duo (22-5), one of the field's eight alphabetical seeds, is scheduled to face Greendale seniors Gabby Weber and Hannah Marquardt (13-11) in a first-round match Thursday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.
"Golf has always been a hobby for me," Bobbi Stricker said. "I never took it as serious as I do tennis. But I play a lot in the summer when I'm not playing tennis."
Several years ago, Stricker got her first taste of the game while taking lessons with Bailey Chorney, the youngest daughter of Waunakee tennis professionals Tom and Doneta Chorney.
The families have become close in the time since and both of Bobbi's parents, particularly her mother, Nicki, enjoy playing tennis. Stricker credits the bond she shares with Bailey and her older twin sisters Shelby and Tilly, who will each compete for Waunakee in the Division 1 singles tournament, for making her decision to play tennis instead of golf an easy one.
"We play (golf) together occasionally, and we share that together all the time," Steve Stricker said of his relationship with Bobbi. "She really loves going to tournaments as a family and watching me go around. She was at the Ryder Cup a couple weeks ago. She really enjoys just going and seeing what I do for a living.
"We share it in other ways, so I'm really not worried about her not playing (golf) at all."
Taylor, an accomplished player in her previous two seasons at No. 3 singles, admittedly had her reservations about the pairing at No. 1 doubles with Stricker after the freshman emerged from a four-player competition for the second spot.
"I was a little nervous, mainly because our personalities are so different," said Taylor, whose outgoing nature contrasts with Stricker's quiet disposition. "Not necessarily because of age."
But Taylor's goal had always been to reach individual state and the senior knew the odds of receiving a special qualifier berth at No. 3 singles were slim to none. Middleton junior Madison Krigbaum, whom Taylor defeated last year, went 26-0 this season with conference and sectional titles at No. 3 but was still left out of the week's field
"She had never really had a chance to go to state, and as a senior, I like to reward players that have been very committed," Waunakee coach Jeff Pruefer said of Taylor, a four-year varsity performer. "She's one of the most committed players we've ever had."
Both Pruefer and Taylor quickly realized the switch to doubles was the right choice.
In one of the duo's first matches of the season, Stricker and Taylor earned a lopsided win over Middleton's Darcy Hogendorn and Allison Ragsdale, a pair that went on to collect Big Eight Conference and sectional titles. The Warriors tandem picked up another signature win a month later over Madison Edgewood seniors Lauren Keller and Morgan Molitor, the second-seeded team in the Division 2 field
Stricker hopes to model the mental approach her father exhibits on the PGA Tour in her own game this week at state.
"He's always very calm when it comes to that kind of thing," she said. "He doesn't let his head wander, so I try to keep that in my mind to stay focused on what I'm trying to do."