Kat Lyman isn’t afraid to adjust her strategy on the court. Rethinking her approach on the fly oftentimes helped deliver winning results during a standout high school tennis career.

It makes sense then that Lyman apply the same logic to life. The longtime Navy commit graduated from Oceanside in June. She realized by July that the military might not be the right fit for her. She quickly pivoted and restrategrized with little time to waste. The 2019 Best of Prep Sports female tennis Player of the Year will now suit up for West Virginia this fall.

“I’ve always dreamed of playing for a big Power 5 school,” Lyman said. “I’m super excited.”

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Lyman with former Heisman trophy winner George Rogers at second annual Best of Prep Sports Awards in May. 

Lyman began plebe summer with the Naval Academy toward the end of June. The required seven-week physical and mental training program is designed to prepare incoming freshmen for life as midshipmen.

“I have endless respect for the military and people in the service but experiencing it firsthand made me think long and hard about the career path I was going to be taking,” Lyman said. “It was a difficult decision but I realized that wasn’t the route I wanted to take.”

Lyman’s coaches at Navy were understanding and connected her with the staff at West Virginia, who contacted her the day after she returned home to Charleston. She landed in Morgantown for an official visit a few days later and committed soon after.

“Things moved quickly,” she said. “Besides the beautiful campus and athletic facilities, the most important factor in my decision was how well I got along with the coaches and the rest of the team.”


Lyman is the No. 5 ranked player in the state. She helped Wando to a state championship as a freshman and then a runner-up finish as a sophomore.

She took a year off from high school competition her junior year and returned even stronger as a senior, going undefeated as the top singles player for Oceanside’s state runner-up team.

The four-star recruit and former USTA Southern Junior champion has been ranked as high as No. 26 in the nation.

“Kat brings a wealth of experience from junior competitions, an impressive academic background as well as a drive to become the best she can be on and off the court as part of our program,” West Virginia coach Miha Lisac began. “We are looking to have Kat as a building block for our program’s future.”