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Brooke Dickens, Stockdale girls soccer

Stockdale's Brooke Dickens had in mind the perfect scenario for her senior season.

It included helping the Mustangs win the Southwest Yosemite League title, garner the top seed for the Division I playoffs, and last but not least, claim the program's first section championship.

Aided by Dickens' superb play, everything went according to script with one exception.

Despite Dickens' two goals, Stockdale came up just short in the section championship game, losing 3-2 in overtime to Clovis-Buchanan.

That setback did nothing to take away from Dickens' amazing year. The talented and intelligent midfielder tallied five of the Mustangs' seven post-season goals and had 22 goals and 13 assists overall.

Because of her outstanding play throughout the regular season and playoffs, Dickens is The Californian's Girls Soccer All-Area Player of the Year.

"My goal was to do the best that I could and help the players around me play the best that they could, whether that be through words or actions," Dickens said.

Dickens' actions on the field are what spoke loudest when it mattered most.

"Brooke really stepped up in the last half of the season knowing that, 'Hey this is it. We're going to be done after this,'" Stockdale coach Janien McGowan said. "She's just a very positive person with the kids. She's a good role model on and off the field. ... She's an over-achiever, and she's a really hard worker."

One of Stockdale's team captains, Dickens took her leadership role to heart.

Before every playoff game, she wrote and personally delivered individual letters of encouragement to each one of her teammates.

"They were just letters telling them how proud I am of the team, how proud I am of all the girls, and basically just stating what our goals were again, and how we had achieved some of them already but that we still had work to do," Dickens said.

A four-year varsity starter, Dickens helped Stockdale win three SWYL titles and reach a trio of section finals during her prep career.

While she would have loved to end her high school career on a winning note, Dickens was proud of the way Stockdale played in its most recent section-championship appearance.

"I was kind of hoping the third time would be the charm, but it wasn't," Dickens said. "But we can feel good as a team and as individuals knowing that we played a good game. We played a clean game. And we did our best. That's all you can do."

Dickens began playing AYSO at age 4 and club soccer four years later. Since her sophomore year, she's commuted several times each week to the Los Angeles area to play for the Real So Cal Soccer Club.

That experience, she said, has helped her growth as a player.

A devout Christian, Dickens also credits God for much of her success.

"My faith plays a big role in all that I do," Dickens said.

The soccer pitch isn't the only place where Dickens excels. Her work in the classroom is equally impressive.

Dickens, whose aspirations include going to medical school and eventually becoming a pediatrician, has a perfect 4.5 grade-point average and is in the running to be Stockdale's class of 2012 valedictorian.

Armed with strong academic credentials and an impressive soccer resume, Dickens has several top-notch colleges asking her to play for them.

That includes her preferred choice, Harvard, the prestigious Ivy League school where she is on the wait list for admission.

She'll find out in May if she's accepted.

"It would be cool to play on the team there," Dickens said. "They told me that they want me."