After being recruited by historic programs like the University of Georgia, junior Dane Webb chose to attend the University of Oklahoma with hopes of helping the program reach new heights.
Georgia showed interest in Webb while he was playing for Richardson High School as a senior in 2011. However, two notable Georgia alums were trying to sway Webb’s interest another direction.
“It’s funny because both Bo [Hodge] and John [Roddick] went to Georgia, so they were recruiting me away from where they went,” Webb explained.
“At Georgia they’ve done well so many times, but here I feel like whenever we do something big it’s kind of the first time. I took a chance, but it’s cool to create a new tradition and be apart of something for the first time. That’s one of the main reasons I chose to play for OU.”
Since being at OU Webb has been apart of numerous OU tennis firsts. In 2012, Webb helped the Sooners win their first conference title in nearly 20 years, and the following year, the Dallas native was apart of the only Oklahoma tennis team to win back-to-back Big 12 titles. However, perhaps the biggest triumph Webb has been apart of came in March 2014, when OU earned its first ever national No. 1 ranking.
Webb credits how well team members have been playing with their success this season.
“We’re all playing pretty well right now,” Webb stated. “And we got Andrew [Harris] and Austin [Siegel]. Nick [Papac] and Axel [Alvarez] are playing really well and Willy [Guillermo Alcorta] always plays pretty well.”
Webb himself has had a strong 2014 season thus far. The junior is the International Tennis Association’s No. 43 ranked singles player and has clinched two matches for OU in 2014, including the Sooners’ March 7 triumph over then top-ranked Ohio State.
“I don’t know, this year things are just coming together. We’re pretty confident; we have more confidence and higher expectations. This year instead of thinking ‘maybe we can win matches’, we go into matches thinking ‘we’ll be disappointed if we don’t win.’”
Although he admits his nerves can get the best of him sometimes, he says when it comes to pressure, he wants it put on him.
“I like it,” Webb said. “Not that I don’t trust the other guys, but if it has to come down to somebody, I’d like it to be me. I’m used to it and it’s fun. Obviously I get nervous but I think I handle it well.”
In addition to the team playing well on the court, Webb says the chemistry team members’ share outside of tennis plays a major role in their achievements.
“This year everyone seems to get along a lot better,” Webb explained. “Everyone likes to hang out with each other when we leave. That makes a big difference and it makes it more fun to be out here everyday.”
With their close-knit group and the experience they’ve gained throughout recent years, Webb along with the remainder of the roster believe they can make it further in the NCAA Championships and maybe, be crowned National Champions.
“I definitely think it’s realistic to say we could win it [NCAA Championships],” Webb said. The coaches were talking to us about it yesterday. They were saying there’s only a handful, like six teams, that have a shot at winning it. There’s not like one dominant team, everyone in the top teams are really close.”
Even if he doesn’t earn a national title while at OU, Webb plans to head back to Dallas after he graduates and attempt to play professionally.
“I feel like I owe it to myself to at least try it,” Webb explained. “You never know, I might make it, I might not but I wouldn’t want to not do it and be thinking ‘what if I would’ve done it and been successful? I’d rather try and see.”
Up next for Webb and the Sooners, they travel to Austin, Texas and start conference play against the University of Texas, March 28.