Varsity Tennis Claims Third State Championship With Dominating 10-0 Win

Amoli Agarwal, Horizon Editor-in-Chief

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  • With another state title under their belt, the varsity tennis team celebrates their latest victory together. The team swept both semifinals and finals, winning each without dropping a match. “10-0 in the state finals is unheard of and these kids accomplished it,” Head Coach Travis Dalrymple said. “[This was] just an unbelievable moment for this team.”

    courtesy of Travis Dalrymple

It was 9-0 in the match. Simryn Jacob ‘24 held a 6-2, 5-2, 40-40 lead. The pressure intensified on both Jacob and her Houston Memorial opponent as the latter stepped up to brick-red court for her second serve. The serve arced up gracefully into the air, spinning rapidly but not fast enough as it hit the tape of the net and rolled slowly away.

Within seconds, the entire varsity tennis team rushed Jacob’s court, jumping up and down with her in celebration of their victory. After a long season of practice and perseverance, the team clinched their third 6A Team Tennis championship with a dominating 10-0 win against the Houston Memorial Mustangs in the finals on Thursday, Oct. 27.

“Everyone was holding their breath,” Jacob said. “She double-faulted, and then I just started screaming. It was so crazy, I thought the team was behind the fence. I was waving to them, and then they just started running over.”

Ever since their early defeat against the Lake Travis Cavaliers in last year’s Regional playoffs, the team has worked towards competing for the state trophy again. Plastered on their shirts and posters, their slogan, “bring the heat,” marked the team’s spirit and mantra throughout the season.

“[It was] so fun to watch all their hard work come to fruition,” Head Coach Travis Dalrymple said. “I told them before state [that] I didn’t care if we won. I knew we had already won because [of] the way they conducted themselves and worked as a unit.”

Apart from their constant dedication to practicing, the team approached their season differently this year. To build a stronger, more cohesive team, each member focused on building relationships and sharing in their passion for tennis.

“Beyond just improving our tennis skills, we’ve become a lot closer as a team,” Helen Le ‘23 said. “We started [having] team dinners more, and [now], the cheering is insane. Everything has made us work together a lot better.”

Though many seniors have experienced winning the state championship before, this victory remains no less monumental. 

“This means everything for me,” Varsity Captain Aadhi Raja ‘23 said. “This is my last fall season, and to be on a team again with my best friends was a treat capped off by a great finish to our season.”

Raja attributes the win to the team’s cautious attitude regarding their early lead against Houston Memorial. Even when Westwood led 7-0 after doubles, the players battled against the Mustangs with high energy.

“[In] every match we played it was important to instill a fear that there is a possibility of losing, and the feeling of choking and the agony of defeat,” Raja said. “It was evident in the way that everyone played in the state tournament that at no point did we feel that we had any matches won until we reached 10 wins.”

For new team members, this successful state run has sealed their connection to the Westwood tennis community.

“I didn’t know more than half the people when I came [to Westwood], but this season really put us all together and made us feel like a big team,” Janya Tellabati ‘26 said. “This last match was the loudest we’ve ever been, and it really showed me how much we care for each other.”

Tellabati is one of the few freshmen on the starting lineup. After a tough doubles’ match, she and her partner Alex Mepham ‘24 came out on top with a score of 6-4, 3-6, 10-5. Tellabati was nearly finished with her singles’ match when Jacob won and the Warriors triumphed.

“I really enjoyed playing with Alex this season,” Tellabati said. “She was really open and she really helped me get better at doubles. [When Jacob won], I was shocked for a few seconds because I didn’t know why everyone was running. And then I [realized], and it was really nice to watch.”

After their victory, the players look to recuperate and then pick up the pace again before the start of the individual season in the spring.

“For the rest of the semester, the goal is to stay active playing tournaments and attempt to grow even more before the spring season,” Raja said. “I hope to bring another state title in the spring, [but] the only thing I can ask of myself is to make sure that I am as prepared as I can be.”

For now, the team continues to celebrate not only their latest triumph but also their renewed connections at the finale of a rewarding season.

“This was a total team effort,” Coach Dalrymple said. “From our best players all the way down to our guys cheering and getting water, these kids love each other and have had each other’s backs from day one. [I am] proud to be their coach. Not just because of how they played but because of who they are.”