Martin signs with Howard Payne
Sunday, 29 April 2012 by Chuck Kelly
Senior Kaila Martin, an important part of head coach Kyle Larson's Tiger Tennis squad, will attend American Southwest Conference West Howard Payne University in Brownwood next fall and play for the Division III Yellow Jackets.
Kaila, daughter of David and Pamela Martin, signed a national letter of intent before teammates, family and friends in the BHS athletic field house.
Martin was 2nd team All-District 12-5A this year, playing mixed doubles with Philip Cesani and also posted a women's singles record of 6-1, losing only to A&M Consolidated.
"My speech teacher, Kenna Jones-Card, got me interested in Howard Payne," Kaila commented. "I want to go into the medical field one day and do breast cancer work."
Her teacher, Jones-Card, graduated from HPU with three degrees and is a third generation alumnus of the university.
"Kaila was in my class in the fall semester and while she was visiting campuses, I suggested Howard Payne...it's a wonderful school," she said.
Kaila's dad, David, agreed. "I'm excited for Kaila, I really am. This is something we've been talking about for a long time, waiting for this opportunity. When coach (Sally) Brown at Howard Payne called and officially said that she would love to have Kaila be a part of their team, it all fell into place. It's an excellent school and she (Brown) will take good care of her," he stated. "We had visited local universities, of course, and went to HPU after her teacher recommended it. She said: 'Just go take a look at it.' Before we ever left the campus, Kaila turned to me and looked me right in the eyes and said: 'Dad, this is where I have to go.'"
"I'm so proud of my daughter," mother Pamela added. "I'm so excited for her but as a mother, I'm going to really miss her."
Kaila said she just wants to get there, play tennis at the Nabers Tennis Center and get her degree....she's ready.
Her BHS coach, Larson, praised his pupil and wished her well.
"She had some pretty crucial wins for us that helped us make it to regionals," he commented. "She has come a long way since her freshman year and it's been an honor and privilege to know her and I wish Kaila the best of luck in hr future. She played an important role for us all year. She has a good attitude, great personality, is fun to be around and a team player. I think Howard Payne is a good fit for her and that she will enjoy success on the college level."