On Friday, Westwood High School freshman Kiana Graham completed the perfect tennis season.
With a 6-1, 6-2 victory over McKinney Boyd’s Emma Gener at the Mitchell Tennis Center, Graham wrapped up the Class 6A girls singles title at the University Interscholastic League championships. She also finished with a 26-0 record while not losing a single set.
“I’m really relieved,” Graham said. “I was really nervous the whole time, even between regionals and state. I ended up pulling it out.”
Graham became the first UIL girls singles champion for Westwood since 2007. She also helped Austin-area entrants sweep the Class 6A singles titles as Westlake junior Roger Chou topped the boys bracket, upending Kevin Zhu of Pearland Dawson 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the final.
“With her, it’s very easy for me,” Westwood coach Travis Dalrymple said of Graham. “She’s such a fun kid to be around and a great person to be around, too. The tennis is just a part of her that’s awesome.”
To get to the state title match, Graham had to take down the defending 6A singles champion, Sammi Gillas of New Braunfels, in the first round. Graham’s straight-set victory set the stage for her title run.
“I was really nervous,” Graham said. “I wasn’t expecting to play her first round. I think after I won that match my confidence went up a lot. Then I just played better throughout the tournament.”
Jayci Goldsmith of Dripping Springs also contributed to the historic run by Austin-area singles players, winning the Class 5A girls championship. Goldsmith defeated McKinney North’s Anna Zheng 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-4.
Goldsmith — a Texas A&M pledge — became the first girls singles champion in school history.
“The fact of the matter is she really enjoys tennis,” Dripping Springs coach Cary Jackson said. “A lot of players we see — particularly at this level — they don’t enjoy the game. They’re great at it, but they just don’t enjoy it. She truly is a fan of the game.”
Chou became the sixth player in Westlake’s history — and the first since 2010 — to win a UIL boys singles championship.
“It means a lot. It’s just great for my team and my school,” Chou said. “I’m so thankful for them to come and cheer me on this year.”
Another highlight for the Chaparrals’ program came Friday when Westlake’s Kim Riley received the Southwest sectional coach of the year award presented by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“This is one of the finest programs to be associated with,” Riley said. “Just to be their coach is a blessing. The fact the UIL nominated me for that award and I got it is icing on the cake to this year and this particular team that’s worked so hard.”
The LBJ boys doubles team of Naveen Yarlagadda and Chaitu Aduru fell in three sets in the Class 5A final, as Jason and Michael Loyd of Corpus Christi Veterans Memorial recorded a 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory.
In Class 2A girls singles, Thorndale’s Landry Laywell lost in the final, falling to Mason’s Ryli Ruffin 6-3, 6-0.