Coming home is not at all close to pressure for Ky. She has already played the scene.
She won the Colorado 5A State Championship two years in a row, in 2017-18. She first made it a goal after watching Natalie Dunn do it for Poudre almost 10 years before. The little tagalong suddenly had a purpose. She still does, even after four years of college tennis.
Tran has already seen it during practice with the Bedford Cup which will take place from September 15-18 at the Air Force Academy.
“She put her head down and worked really hard and supported her teammates,” Tran said. “She is the first to train and the first to speak up for our players. Sarah (Weekley) is one of our youngest, and she encourages her if she ever doubts herself. She is a very positive person and you can tell she is extremely motivated. She wants to do well. Ky got engaged around Thanksgiving, staying with Weekley, Radka Buzkova and Sarka Richterova, so she knew some of the team. But before becoming an Aries, she had to face them once again. It was a historic day for Colorado State, as the Rams earned the first win over Colorado in program history, a 4-2 double victory that Buzkova won in the No. 1 singles ranking.
But the matches were close, even the double that Ky and his partner lost that day. Not playing singles, she was the loudest Buff on the court during these singles matches. Irritating, even.
“It was funny. A good friend of mine was playing, I think she was playing Somer (Dalla-Bona) at 4 years old and I got pretty loud,” Ky said. “I was one of the loudest team and we were yelling back and forth. It’s still a thing today. They laugh at me, because they’re like, you were so annoying. We’re glad you’re on our team now because you were so loud. It touches people. It’s better when it’s on your side.
“I’m looking forward to it. Even in training with the energy when you say, ‘Let’s go Rams, let’s go State’, we feed each other. Lots of newcomers, once we get in in match play it will be fun, to be rowdy together and have fun with each other.
Fans will likely take care of the rest, and the Ectons won’t be alone in supporting Ky and his new team. No, they expect to have lots of friends with them. This makes Ky’s return special for all of them, as family and extended family will see each other a lot more.
The first phase of the reunion is set to take place with the return of the Jon Messick Invitational from September 30 to October 30. 2 at the CSU Tennis Complex. Although the full schedule has yet to be finalized, the Rams are considering eight more home dates afterward, including four conference games. Last year, the forced indoor home games at the Fort Collins Country Club were well attended. This year, fans may have to get there much earlier if they want to get in.
“We are all very, very excited. As you know, tennis has been in the family since before I started having kids,” Laura said. “They grew up with me and Poudre tennis, and when the girls started playing, Ky was able to follow and watch all her big sisters play. She was looking forward to being on Poudre’s tennis team, so I think it’s come full circle in that now the older sisters can go watch Ky play. It means a lot to everyone. We are all very happy to celebrate her in her last year.
With family ties to college, the place has always felt like home to Ky. It just wasn’t for her back when she graduated from high school. Now, she’s at a different stage in her life, and honestly, so is Colorado State’s tennis program.
The city has always been his home. The university and the program hit her the same almost immediately.
“It’s quite exciting. I didn’t realize it until I thought, I’m going to CSU,” Ky said. “My sisters went here, and it’s always been a family affair; Colorado State has always been in the family. Even my first day walking on campus, I was like, it’s amazing, becoming a student at my hometown school. I never really imagined that.
There may have been no need to come home when it all started, but now that Ky is back, that’s almost all she ever wanted.