Franklin native earns VISAA Coach of the Year nod
Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, November 18, 2014
After taking her Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Lady Saints tennis team all the way to No. 2 this season, Franklin native Lindsay Raulston was surprised to be named “Coach of the Year” for VISAA Division II girls tennis.
Raulston was quick to give the team all of the credit for this year’s postseason run, where they made it to the championship game and fell to the five-time defending champions, Hampton Roads Academy.
“It was all about the girls,” she said. “I had seven seniors, so we had a lot of leadership and experience. Seniors, and solid play from our No. 1 and No. 2 players was really what turned it around.”
The players she was referring to are No. 1 Elvie Sellers and No. 2 Ria Khandpur, who were both named to the first team all-conference and all-state teams. Raulston added that they were hurt in 2013.
So, when it came time for VISAA to announce the Coach of the Year, she wasn’t expecting that it would be her, a first-year coach.
“We had a great season this year — a lot of the girls are really dedicated,” Raulston said. “Coach of the Year wasn’t in my mind at all. I was shocked but really excited, too.”
A May graduate and five-time All-American from Mary Washington University, Raulston ranked as high individually as sixth in the state, and she also achieved the same ranking in doubles with Shelby Harris. She took a lot of her coaching philosophy from playing for the NCAA Div. III Lady Eagles.
“It was an easy transition, from going from what I was told, to telling them the same thing. It worked for us at Mary Washington, so why not a high school team?” Raulston said with a laugh. “I had never coached before, but I thought it sounded fun. It ended up being a much better experience than I thought it would.”
She said she ended up having a great time.
“It was fun — I don’t know how else to describe it,” Raulston said. “A lot of the girls were only five to six years apart from me, so sometimes I felt more like their friend than a coach.
“But we had a great time, and that’s good for high school tennis. It doesn’t have to always be super serious. You want them to have a good time while they are out there too.”
Raulston, a Southampton Academy graduate, is applying to medical school, so this will likely be her only year coaching for some time. Her mother, Sheryl Raulston, was her assistant coach and may take over next year.
“You apply in May for the next August,” Raulston said about medical school. “So, I had a gap year.”
In the meantime, she’d been shadowing an orthopedic surgeon in Suffolk and working an internship with the Obici Healthcare Foundation in Suffolk.
As far as coaching tennis, Raulston said this may not be the end.
“In the long run, coaching is something I’d like to do,” she said. “So maybe someday I’ll go back to it.”