Cameron’s Harris going out with state tournament appearance

Ever since Cameron’s Houston Harris entered high school, she has had a goal in mind to make it to the final eight - the state tournament.  In her third attempt, she has made that goal a reality, as on Thursday she will be competing for a state championship from Texas A&M University.  


“I am very excited to be going to state,” said Harris, who finished fourth at regionals the past two seasons.  “It has been a goal since my freshman year and I was finally able to make it. I love the Texas A&M courts. I have played on them every summer for the past six years at the Texas A&M tennis camp, so I won't be completely out of my element.”


Harris is actually a junior athletically at age 16, but this is going to be her final time to compete for the Lady Yoe.  She will be graduating a year early from Yoe High, with 30 hours of college credit and an admission to the Texas A&M Mays Business School to major in marketing.


“She was very competitive in soccer and for her to do what what she did missing a lot of school, that says a lot about her character and how hard she works,” said Yoe tennis coach Lance Hause.  


The game actually runs in the family, as her mom - Stephanie Varga - was part of Yoe state-qualifying doubles team in 1991 and 1992.  Her plaque has recently been mounted at the courts, and her daughters will soon be following suit.


“I love tennis and really enjoyed playing but I didn't have the motivation to be really good until high school,” Harris said. “I play with my mom all the time, and she has always been able to beat me, up until last year. She is still really fun to play with and our matches are really close.”


With continued growth, she committed more time to the game than just your routine practice, including mentoring young athletes with a desire to play tennis in Cameron.  


“I also give tennis lessons to Junior High and younger kids, with hopes of making the Cameron tennis program better and getting more kids into tennis,” said Harris.  


With all that she has on her plate, she still has time to work on improving her own game.  


“I have taken countless lessons and gone to many camps over the years,” she said.  The Texas A&M camp is my favorite and I plan to be a counselor after I graduate. Between district and regionals, I started going to a coach in Taylor for one to two hours, three to four times a week. He helped me step up my game a lot, and I may not have made it to state without him.”


Harris sits at 16-5 overall, but that record would be deceiving, as all five of those losses have come to competitors that will also be at state this week.  Three of those were to district counterpart Ali May of Franklin. She fell to May in the finals of the regional tournament, but bounced back in a playback match to earn her bid to state.  


“I was a little upset about having to do a playback, but I was able to keep a calm mind and not let my previous loss affect me,” she said. “Tennis is a much more mental game than it looks. Once you let yourself get upset, you start making mistakes, and it's hard to come back from that and reset your mind. Especially when there are such high stakes.”


At state, the she will possibly draw her toughest competition yet in Corpus Christi London’s Sara Humpal.  Humpal is the defending 3A singles state champion and did not lose a set at the state tournament in 2017. That quarterfinal match will begin at 9:30 am.  


“It's very intimidating to be playing the top seed, but I will try my best,” Harris said.  “I have already met my goal of qualifying for state, so I'm going to give it my all and put up a good fight. There are a lot of variables that can change the outcome of a game, too. She may be a very good player, but if she starts making mistakes and losing her mental game, I might end up on top. Emotion, skill, weather conditions, and even a bad day can change the course of the match entirely.”


Regardless of what may occur on Thursday, her coach said he is proud of what she has done in her time within the program.  


“I’m proud of her on how hard she has worked for all of her accomplishments,” said Hause.  “I just want to wish her luck in the future in whatever she does.”


She appears to be well on the right track.