Recovered from an ankle injury, Breaunna Addison is playing tennis like she did early in her career.
Which is to say at a championship level.
Addison, the 2014 Big 12 player of the year, is gearing up to be comeback player of the year. If only such a thing existed.
On Monday in College Station, Addison put an exclamation point on her bounce-back senior season by topping Houston’s Despoina Vogasari to win Texas’ first regional singles title in six years.
“It looks like I’m moving in the right direction,” Addison said.
Addison is still rounding back to her return to pre-injury form, when she was among the Big 12’s and nation’s top competitors. As a freshman, she became only the third Longhorns player to reach the NCAA singles semifinals. A year later, she was the conference’s player of the year and an ITA All-American.
Primed for more success a year ago, Addison instead injured an ankle and was sidelined for a month-and-a-half in the spring. She qualified for the NCAA championships anyway, but was eliminated in the first round. Compounding her problems, perhaps, was multiple coaching changes. She played her sophomore season for Patty Fendick-McCain, and her junior year for interim coach Darija Klaic and Danielle Lund McNamara. None of them are still around, and the program has been turned over to Howard Joffe, the former Texas A&M head coach.
“Change is always challenging, but at the end of the day I signed up to be a Longhorn and not necessarily to play under one coach,” Addison said.
Addison, of Boca Raton, Fla., is one of just five players on the fall roster, so team success is tough to come by in a sport where coaches are permitted to offer eight full scholarships.
Addison, who concludes her fall season next month at the national indoor championships in New York, is 13-1 in singles and 7-1 as Dani Wagland’s doubles partner. Addison’s only singles loss came to top seed Brooke Austin of Florida in the second round of the ITA All-American Championships.
Addison, who is ranked No. 48 but will surely move up by the spring, said her goal is to win the NCAA title.
“Even if I’m not playing as well, the intangibles are stronger (than they were early in her career), so I feel I’m able to produce the same results, if not better,” she said.
Women’s swimming ranked: The women’s swimming and diving team checks in at No. 3 in the initial national poll. Georgia is first with 249 points followed by Stanford with 226. Texas received 224 points.
Carol Capitani’s squad holds wins over No. 6 Florida and No. 11 Indiana. They are off until a Nov. 6 dual meet at No. 15 Texas A&M.
Next week, the men’s poll will be announced, and defending champion Texas figures to be in the top spot.
Big 12 cross country: No. 6 Oklahoma State is favored in the men’s Big 12 cross country meet Saturday in Stillwater, leaving Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State to likely battle for runner-up. All three of them recently dropped out of the national poll.
Texas, which had been ranked No. 30, will bring a fivesome of Brady Turnbull, Jacob Pickle, Nate Moore, Connor Hendrickson and Chris Pietraszkiewicz.
On the women’s side, Texas is seeking a better effort than the 40th-place finish it turned in at pre-nationals two weeks ago in Louisville. Sandie Raines, who was the team’s top finisher at No. 80, is the best bet to earn all-conference honors.
No. 11 Iowa State and No. 23 Oklahoma State should battle for the women’s championship.
“The Big 12 meet is going to be much smaller than the meet we had last time with 45 teams,” coach Brad Herbster said. “Now we go to about 10 teams. So that should work in our favor. It’s a lot easier to pick people out that way, but at the same time, you got to get out there and compete as it is the Big 12 Championship.”