Varsity Kansas

Getting to know: Travis Osland

Collegiate tennis player Travis Osland poses for a picture at the Collegiate tennis courts Wednesday. (May 9, 2012)
Collegiate tennis player Travis Osland poses for a picture at the Collegiate tennis courts Wednesday. (May 9, 2012) The Wichita Eagle

Collegiate tennis

Osland, a junior, heads into the state tournament at Topeka’s Kossover Center with a 21-3 record after winning regionals last week. He finished fourth in Class 3-2-1A in 2011. He also is in Scholar’s Bowl and plays the clarinet in the band.

When did you start playing tennis?

“Actually, my parents kind of forced me into it when I was in third grade. I had to go to lessons, and then I ended up liking it. I was playing soccer at the time, and I liked that a lot, and I got to play with my friends. Doing something else didn’t sound that great. Probably in fifth grade, I got pretty into it. I started playing a couple tournaments, and I didn’t really like losing and I wanted to get better. We didn’t have a soccer team at Collegiate, so that was coming to an end and I knew I needed to do something different.”

How have you improved over the years?

“I’ve gotten taller, I’m 6-1, so my serve has gotten better. I’m more of an aggressive player. Since I’m taller, I get more leverage on my shots. And last year I tried to end points too quickly. Now I’m playing a lot smarter, going for the safer shots but still being aggressive.”

Why is it important to rely on those safer shots?

“If I knew I could hit any shot that I wanted, I would. But I obviously can’t do that. It’s playing the percentages. Hitting a shot that you can get in 80 percent of the time rather than doing one that you hit in 40 percent of the time…. You want to play consistently.”

How is it playing for a program with such a winning tradition?

“I guess there’s a little bit of pressure. But there’s not a lot. Everybody knows that I’m going to go out and play my hardest. They know that if I get fourth or something, like at state last year, I wasn’t messing around.”

You’re in Scholar’s Bowl, what’s your best subject?

“I’m pretty good at geography. I won the school geography bee in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. I just like learning about the rest of the world and understanding what goes on. It’s something I liked learning. It was interesting and easy to remember.”