Barksdale advances to finals, prepares to defend CIF title

Grace Tseng, Sports Editor

When she was just 3 years old, Kaila Barksdale (12) could often be found running around a tennis court with a racquet in her hand while her father, coach Keith Barksdale, taught tennis. At the time, Barksdale said that the racquet was nearly the same size as she was.
For her sophomore, junior, and now senior year, Barksdale has played varsity tennis for Westview and has competed in singles position 1 each year. She has been playing tennis since she was 5 years old, and has participated in many tournaments recreationally and for Westview.
Barksdale said that she initially began playing tennis after being encouraged to by her father, who is a certified tennis coach and Westview’s girls tennis coach.
“My prior years of training with my dad and playing high-level tournaments definitely prepared me to play high school tennis,” Barksdale said.
Barksdale is currently the defending CIF singles individual champion, with consecutive wins from her sophomore and junior years, which she said has been her greatest achievement while playing tennis for Westview.
Barksdale said that her title has been a source of motivation, especially when preparing for the upcoming CIF matches.
“Holding the title of CIF champion for two years now has been very motivating for me to keep playing at the highest level I can,” she said. “My coach and I have been focusing on getting more [speed] on my serve as well as my volleys.”
Barksdale said that playing tennis at Westview has helped her enhance her technical skills, such as her serves, as well as her mentality as an athlete.
On Tuesday, Barksdale competed in the CIF quarterfinals against Sage Creek, and won both sets 6-0. For her final CIF match today at 2:30 p.m., Barksdale said that having previous experience in CIF tournaments and success in the quarterfinals have mitigated her anxiety.
“During CIF my sophomore year, I felt nervous as it was a first time experience, especially during the final,” Barksdale said. “I think that I won’t be as nervous this year as I have more experience playing this tournament and I’m looking forward to playing some tough opponents.”
Barksdale plans to continue her tennis career into college, and said that she hopes to play NCAA Division 1 tennis.
Playing tennis for Westview, she said, has been an experience that has shaped her high school career.
“Being a part of the Westview tennis team has definitely been a special part of my tennis career,” Barksdale said. “It’s sad that it’s my final season here, but I’m so glad I had a great coach and group of girls by my side.”