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Falcon tennis gets familiar face to replace Kramer
LANGLEY — If Karyle Kramer follows her dad’s footsteps, like she has so far, she has at least 30 years of coaching tennis at South Whidbey High School left in the journey.
Kramer, who was hired in August to coach the boys tennis team, has been hired to coach the girls tennis team. She takes over the girls team her dad Tom Kramer led for 34 years.
The job was one Karyle was waiting on, and she applied for it “as soon as he officially resigned.”
“I was waiting patiently,” Kramer said. “It’s something that I’ve always dreamed about and wanted to do.”
“My dad, he was really ready to be done with the everyday commitments required of a head coach.”
The mother of three has time to coach now that her youngest child is in kindergarten. Another reason she wanted to coach the girls team is Kramer’s desire to give back to the program that made her a three-time state singles champion more than 20 years ago.
Those qualities made finding a replacement to coach girls tennis simple and quick for South Whidbey Athletic Director Scott Mauk. He said Kramer’s experience coaching youth tennis on South Whidbey should work well, and made her an easy hire.
“It would have to be Arthur Ashe,” Mauk said. “She’s just so qualified.”
Though she’s the new head coach (and she has a new assistant, Jennifer Gochanour), she surmised her dad would be on the court often, too.
“I suspect, like the boys season, he’ll be on the court some, helping out for an hour or so,” Kramer said.
The Falcon girls tennis team finished 5-3 against District 1 teams last season. Hayley Newman, South Whidbey’s top singles player, advanced to the state tournament last year, where she won her first match but lost the next two and was eliminated.
Still, having a returning state competitor helps the team’s foundation. Kramer said she looked forward to working with the team’s experienced players and welcoming some Falcons to the court for the first time.
“Initially, I just need to see everybody and get a grasp on the big picture,” she said.
“We’ll have some players who’ve never picked up a tennis racquet before, and we’re prepared for that.”
Kramer was an integral part of the South End’s youth tennis program through the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District. She helped create the QuickStart tennis program for tennis players 10 and under, and coached older youth levels, as well.
Being part of the tennis development for years has helped Kramer understand the progression of players, whether they are taking their first serve or they are acing that first serve.
And through her years of working with the parks programs, she knows a handful of the girls on the tennis team.
“I’m familiar with their playing style, and they’re familiar with my coaching style because I coached them in the summers,” Kramer said.
Those experiences with community development were an added attraction of her tennis expertise for Mauk.
Part of his vision in his first year as the high school’s athletic director is to create a progression from youth sports — Pee Wee football, Little League baseball and softball, club volleyball — to the Falcon teams at the apex.
Kramer’s view of tennis as a sport and healthy endeavor meshed well with her boss’ ideas.
“Tennis is a lifetime sport. It’s something kids can play well after high school,” Kramer said.