Haralson, a senior, started playing tennis as a freshman at Northwest. and qualified for the Class 6A tournament as a sophomore. Haralson, a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, plans to play tennis at Newman.
You picked up tennis awfully late, how did that happen?
"I got into it my freshman year when my friend talked me into it. I have loved it ever since. I do have a lot of catch-up to do because it was really late. But our team was pretty bad that year and I ended up making varsity. After that, I fell in love, I kept playing and I started taking lessons. They said I was a natural."
Has it helped or hurt you that you're a late beginner?
"I am competitive and I have a hard work ethic. I'm athletic and I'm in a new sport and I use that athleticism to beat people. I out-hustle them. I haven't been playing long, I don't have the talent, the skill that other people have. I use the athleticism to beat them. I hustle to beat them."
What did your parents think about you wanting to take tennis lessons?
"My parents didn't think I was serious. They wanted me to wait until the fall. I started taking lessons at BK Tennis (Academy) the fall of my sophomore year. I started getting more serious, playing every night. In the summer, I'd play every day. I think my parents wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to just quit like I did baseball.... They learned that I really did like it."
When you went to state, did it frustrate you that the Kansas City-area tennis players were so much better?
"They are amazing, and it didn't depress me. I'd only been playing for a year. It kind of helped me that I started late. I wouldn't get down on myself. If people beat me, face the fact that they are better than me. Then I worked harder."
What do you do outside of tennis?
"I play golf and Wiffle ball. We just text around and tell everyone to meet up at Buffalo Park, and then someone has to go buy Wiffle balls. We go through three or four. All the guys play baseball. I like baseball, but Wiffle ball is fun to play. It's not so competitive."