Sequim High senior Garrett Little (seated) is joined by friends and family at a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on Dec. 22. Little amassed an undefeated Olympic League record, three league titles, a district title and two top-three finishes (so far) at state tournaments, and he plans to play at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., after graduation. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim High senior Garrett Little (seated) is joined by friends and family at a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on Dec. 22. Little amassed an undefeated Olympic League record, three league titles, a district title and two top-three finishes (so far) at state tournaments, and he plans to play at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., after graduation. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

PREPS: Wolves’ Garrett Little aims to wrap phenomenal career with tennis title

Sequim southpaw has reached lofty heights

SEQUIM — The rest of the Olympic League can take a breath. Garrett Little is graduating this June.

For four years, the Sequim High southpaw has dominated league play, going undefeated in more than 40 singles matches since the abridged 2020-21 season.

Add to that a 28-4 postseason record, three league titles, a West Central District crown and back-to-back top-three finishes at state.

About the only thing missing is a Class 2A state title, which he’ll be serving for in May.

But Little already has plenty of plans for further down the road: in December, the Sequim senior signed a letter of intent to play for Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“It was a good opportunity,” Little said at his signing ceremony, and that he’d looked at a number of schools — including Point Loma Nazarene University, Azusa Pacific University, Claremont McKenna College and Chapman University.

The common denominator, Little noted: Good weather. All the better to hone his tennis game.

Little said his family had a badminton background and that he picked up a racket and started playing at about age 5 or 6.

“I really liked mastering the technical side of the sport,” he said. “If you miss a shot, you can improve.”

Mark Textor, Little’s varsity tennis coach the past four years, said it’s a combination of mental and physical attributes that have helped the teen become so successful on the court.

“No. 1, he has good hand-eye coordination,” Textor said.

“Two, he has a really good disposition and mind for tennis. He doesn’t get rattled. He’s got a fire in his belly that you have to have to be competitive… [but] whether he’s ahead or behind, he’s very steady.

“And you have to stand up for yourself. He always does it in a respectful way, which not all tennis players do.”

Little also has a bit of an advantage being left-handed, Textor said.

“The ball is spinning in a different direction [from left-handers]; I hated playing lefties,” Textor said.

The only thing Little may need to do, Textor said, is harness the strength he gains as he matures.

“Garrett’s not done growing; he’s not done getting stronger,” Textor said.

“He has a great volley, a good overhead, he’s got a really consistent forehand, a solid backhand and a good mind. He could use more power on his serve and more power in general,” the Sequim coach said.

“He doesn’t get free points on his serves, and I think that will happen [as he gets stronger].”

Youth tennis career

The Sequim youth honored his tennis skills with hordes of other youngsters, pre-teens and teens at local summer camps put on by USTA pro Don Thomas in the mid- and late-2010s.

“That definitely kept me in it,” Little recalled.

Textor said he was helping Thomas with camp activities when Little got on his radar.

“You could tell he had a lot of potential,” Textor said. “He was probably the best kid in the camp … at age 12.”

By his eighth-grade year — one year after his brother Damon, a 2A state tennis tourney doubles qualifier, had graduated from Sequim — Little was practicing with the high school team.

But tennis wasn’t necessarily the sport that he focused on. Little, who now stands at 6-foot-1, grew up a bit of a basketball gym rat. His keen eye and coordination helped him to earn national Elks Hoop Shoot competition berths in 2016 and 2019.

“I had always focused on basketball,” Little said.

But the Sequim teen said he soon started taking tennis seriously “once I saw how good I was.”

That meant honing his skills with coaches and assistants and other top local players, and by his sophomore year, he started finessing his game with a professional at the Kitsap Tennis and Athletic Center.

State in late May

With another five months to go before he can take his shot at a 2A singles title, Little has some work to do. First is helping his Wolves boys varsity basketball squad earn wins on the hardcourt, and then in the early spring get back on the courts. Little said he’ll get in workouts with friends such as Kalli Wiker (a former state champ) and drill with a ball machine as he gets ready.

After the state tourney, it’s south to Westmont, where Little said he plans to work toward a secondary education teaching degree, with a possible focus on physical education.

“My past teachers have been … positive role models in my life,” the Sequim teen said, in particular Textor, Doug Hastings and Jeff Stroh.

And as for his playing days beyond college, Little said he may have a longer future in the growing sport of pickleball. Like Hastings, his former teacher, Little is sponsored by pickleball equipment giant Selkirk.

“He’s a good pickleball player, but he’s a really good tennis player; I hope he stays with tennis as long as he can,” Textor said.

“[But] anything with a racket, Garrett’s going to be good at.”

________

Sequim Gazette Editor Michael Dashiell can be contacted at news@sequimgazette.com.

Sequim freshman Garrett Little, pictured here returning a shot against a North Mason foe on May 10, comes into the season the Wolves’ top singles player. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sequim freshman Garrett Little, pictured here returning a shot against a North Mason foe on May 10, comes into the season the Wolves’ top singles player. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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