JUNIOR SPOTLIGHT: Delanie Dunkle
Even though they live under the same roof and share the same coach, Delanie Dunkle admitted it still felt a little strange to be on the opposite side of the net of her younger sister Peyton Dunkle in two important singles finals during the fall girls’ tennis season.
The Arroyo Grande High School teammates opposed each other in the Mountain League singles final, and then faced each other again in the final of the CIF-Central Section finals, with the senior Delanie getting the upper hand in both wins.
“It was an interesting experience, for sure,” said the senior Delanie of playing against sophomore Peyton. ‘We don’t play many practice matches against each other so it felt strange to play her.”
With the win, Delanie became the first Arroyo Grande High player to win a CIF title. The Eagles made the move from the much tougher CIF Southern Section to the Central Section this year. In the CIF team final a few days later, Arroyo Grande fell 6-3 to Clovis North High School.
The win in the league singles final was the third straight for the Cal Poly-bound Delanie, who also won the league doubles title her freshman year.
Both Delanie and Peyton are coached by their father Bill, the longtime Director of Tennis at the San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Delanie and Bill have made a pretty formidable pairing in doubles and earlier this year when they won the USTA National Hardcourt Father-Daughter title. They have played mixed doubles on three other occasions.
“It’s been fun playing with him because we don’t get that many opportunities to play with each other,” said Delanie, who earned a win over her junior rival Jordyn McBride and her father Desi at Nationals.
Jordyn beat Delanie on Sunday in a Girls’ 18s singles match at the Henry Talbert Tournament taking place in Palm Desert. “I’ve beaten her, and she beats me,” Delanie said of Jordyn. “It’s okay because we’re good friends.”
In October, Dunkle played in her second pro event as the Templeton Tennis Ranch once again hosted a USTA $60,000 Pro Circuit event just up the road from her hometown.
“I had a ton of local support and it was really fun,” she said. “Just to see the top players and see what it’s like at the next level was great.”
Dunkle will stay close for her college tennis, choosing to play at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. “I always kind of knew I wanted to play at Cal Poly,” she said. “We moved to San Luis Obispo about 10 years ago from L.A. when my dad got his job here, and we’ve always loved live here. So it wasn’t a hard decision to make.”
Dunkle is unsure if she will play upcoming big national events the Easter Bowl and the ITF Spring Internationals in SoCal, instead choosing to focus on her studies in her final few months of high school.
She will continue spending time with her 7-year-old younger brother Daxton, who she said she enjoys babysitting, even taking him out to the tennis court for a hit. Sounds like another mixed doubles partner in the future for both the Dunkle sisters.