Until recently, Elizabeth Morton and Kate Bramlett weren’t familiar with the name Betty Degan.
Now they share a special kinship with her, even though they’ve never met her.
Fifty-one years ago Degan did something that has been done only once in Granbury High history. She won a state tennis championship, the 2A singles title.
She is also believed to be the last Granbury player to reach state.
Morton and Bramlett, both juniors, will take the court at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center at the University of Texas in Austin Monday. They will face the Highland Park duo of Maddie Gordon and Elizabeth Burgos.
“We were told it wouldn’t ever happen again,” said Morton. “But since it has, a lot of people I don’t know have been coming up to me and congratulating me.”
For Bramlett, the state berth is especially satisfying after coming close the past two seasons. She lost a playback at regionals as a freshman playing mixed doubles with her brother James, and she finished fourth in singles last season.
“Oh my gosh, I feel as if we’ve broken through a wall,” she said. “I’m so glad I had Elizabeth there with me.”
On the court, the two are among the best around, posting a 19-2 record in their short time playing together and winning both district and regional championships. Off the court, they are best friends.
“It helps being great friends,” said Bramlett. “You’re out there for a long time in the heat, and being able to communicate and have complete trust in each other is important.”
Bramlett and Morton received a scare recently when Bramlett suffered a minor injury playing a USTA tournament. However, she and her father, coach Jeff Bramlett, said it was only a sprain and she should be ready Monday if she doesn’t overdo things in practice before then.
“It was a little bit of a panic, not knowing how bad it was,” said Bramlett.
“Oh my goodness, I’m very excited she’s okay,” said Morton.
The duo are approaching Austin with a relaxed attitude. They want to win, of course, but they have already made history.
“We’re going in with no pressure,” said Morton.
Coach Bramlett said it’s an added thrill to be coaching his own daughter in the biggest setting for high school tennis, even though he coached many players at state during his time at San Antonio Alamo Heights from 1998-2005.
“I’ve always treated them all like they were my own,” he said. “But yes, this is very special.
“And Elizabeth, being such great friends with Kate, that’s as close as I could have to one of my own.
“This is such a great accomplishment for the two of them, and more than anything I want them to go down there and just enjoy the heck out of it.”
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