AUSTIN (KXAN) — Westwood High School product Colin Markes decided to stay with the hometown team when he signed with Texas tennis four year ago. Now, returning from Florida with the program’s first national championship, he says “the years of hard work definitely paid off.”
Markes earned one of the four points during Texas’ championship victory over Wake Forest last weekend in Orlando, Florida. The Longhorns lost the doubles point to go down 1-0, but responded with four straight points for the title.
After losing the doubles point, Markes said interim coach Bruce Berque rallied the team while keeping everyone positive.
“In my mind, I thought it’s going to take a lot, but we turned it around quickly and I think that was the key,” Markes said.
Markes was one of the first Longhorns to finish so he went from competitor to cheerleader quickly nervously watching the scoreboard when Yuya Ito clinched the title. Texas pulled off the dogpile on a tennis court without any injuries, according to Markes.
“Unbelievable emotion, I flew from three courts away in about three seconds,” Markes said about the moments after winning the championship.
Markes earned three singles points for Texas during the 2019 NCAA Tournament. With teammates playing for individual titles, Markes says they haven’t truly celebrated as a team, but will when everyone returns to Austin this weekend. After the adversity of losing their head coach halfway through the season and blocking out potential noise and distractions, the Longhorns deserve several weeks of celebration.
Markes says athletic director Chris Del Conte helped keep the team on track after the firing of longtime coach Michael Center.
“Just really shocking. The whole team was surprised. We had a meeting with Chris Del Conte and our assistant coach and they basically just told us to keep doing exactly what we’ve been doing and we just need to focus on the tennis and they’ll take care of the rest,” Markes said.