AUSTIN – What if Elizabeth Morton hadn’t been hungry that particular day in the seventh grade?
Jeff Bramlett has asked himself that question several times since he enticed her to try tennis by offering to buy her a breakfast burrito.
“Yeah, thank goodness she was hungry,” he said with a grin.
“That was one of the best investments I’ve ever made.”
For the purchase of a breakfast menu item, Bramlett and the Granbury High tennis program found themselves on the way to history.
Monday at the University of Texas’ Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin, Morton teamed with Bramlett’s daughter Kate to become the first Granbury players at the State Tournament since 1962.
Never mind that they lost 6-3, 6-1 to Highland Park’s Maddie Gordon and Elizabeth Burgos, they put Granbury tennis at its highest level ever.
“He found out I was left-handed and Kate’s friend, and so he started persuading me to play,” said Morton with a big smile. “Our joke was all the breakfast burritos I could eat as long as I agreed to play.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
He no longer has to buy her breakfast burritos, but coach Bramlett does have to coach her – and thank her and Kate. He does both of these things eagerly.
“We’re getting recognized all over the state,” said Morton. “Teams are driving six and seven hours to play us. Amarillo came down, El Paso flew in to play in the Aledo Tournament because there were several good teams there, including us.”
Coach Bramlett said he had numerous other coaches and assorted well-wishers come up to him at state with congratulations for Granbury having achieved elite status. They may have a ways to go to catch perennial powerhouse Highland Park (who doesn’t?), but most tennis folks around the state definitely know where Granbury is now.
“Not only did they do something that hasn’t been done in a long, long time – 50 years, that’s a long time – we got seven into regionals, we dominated district,” said coach Bramlett.
“It was a great journey.”
And there could be more to come in the near future. Morton and Bramlett are only juniors, and they reached state playing just half a season together after the coach shuffled the lineup to take them out of singles. Who knows what a full year of playing doubles together could bring?
“That would be a great way to spend my senior year, coming back here and winning it with my good friend,” said Bramlett, who was 19-3 playing with Morton.
“And as for the burritos, it wasn’t hard to hook her in. She loves the game of tennis.
“But those breakfast burritos are good.”
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