AUSTIN (KXAN) — Travis Dalrymple was all but destined to become the head tennis coach at Westwood High School.
“When I was a senior in high school, my coach and I had a deal that i was gonna go to college, come back here and take over the job from him,” Dalrymple said.
After graduating from Texas State and making a stop at Stony Point, Dalrymple finally replaced James Hood to take over at his alma mater 10 years ago.
“I knew I had to get Westwood back on track,” Dalrymple said. “Getting to put these colors back on that I love was just really fun to embrace it back and just be a Warrior again.”
In the decade since he’s taken over, the Warriors have won nine straight district titles and brought back the school’s first team tennis state championship this fall.
“When we got to state, we were like, ‘It’s time for us to win, we can definitely do this,'” Daniel Antov said.
“We can bomb out of everything, it’s still the best year of my life,” Dalrymple joked. “I got named coach of the year for the whole state, we won a state title. My professional life is pretty much downhill from here and I’m ok with that.”
His team’s trying to make sure that’s not the case when they head to the state tournament later this month — with Kiana Graham leading the way.
“Kiana just embodies everything we do,” Dalrymple said.
Graham, who won a state title as a freshman in 2017 in girls’ singles, is teaming up in mixed doubles with Guarav Singh, a fellow junior who finished third in boys singles’ last year.
“We just click, obviously. I’ve known him for a while, we’re friends, so that helps,” Graham said. “We just really work well together.I feel like we have an understanding ont he tennis court.”
“I think that her consistency compliments my aggressiveness pretty well,” Singh said. “Also, I think my serve and her at the net is a pretty big factor that allows us to win a lot of matches.”
Despite Graham and Singh’s success, sophomore Jessica Lu is the only Warrior going to state as a regional champ.
“After she won, I gathered all the kids, I said, ‘Wow, Jessica, this is awesome,'” Dalrymple said. “‘I haven’t had a girl go undefeated the entire year and win the regional finals since Kiana Graham.'”
“Kiana, she’s an amazing player, and I always look up to her,” Dalrymple said. “There’s some pretty big shoes to fill considering she won a state championship.”
Antov, another sophomore, rounds things out for the Warriors as a boys’ singles entrant.
“To watch where he’s come from here to here in that short of a time has been nothing short of amazing,” Dalrymple said. [He’s] improved more than anybody else in the entire program the past year-and-a-half.”
Just like the Warriors have in ten years under Dalrymple.