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A new tournament was created in Duncan by tennis coach Phil Barnes.
This is the 5A Public School Championship, which was played on April 22 and 23.
Barnes started planning the tournament at the end of last summer. He invited what he thought were the top eight 5A public school teams.
“We tried to get the best public schools in class to play,” he said.
The men’s team played on the first day of the tournament. They did not place, but 1 doubles player senior Lane Presswood thinks they had a chance.
“If we would have had our full team, we probably would have second or first at least,” he said.
However, their 1 singles player was out, so he was replaced with sophomore Grant Braught.
The next day it was the women’s team’s chance to compete. They won every division, thus winning the tournament. Senior Paityn Bower thought it was a good experience.
“It was good to do before regular state,” she said. “It was a confidence boost.”
Bower played 2 doubles with sophomore Audrey Goodson because her usual partner, senior Mercy Matthews, sprained her ankle the night before.
The tournament was partly created because of the differences in public schools and private schools.
“The public schools and the private schools don’t play by the same rules,” Barnes said. “I wanted a level playing field.”
There are many private schools in the 5A division due to a state rule. If a school makes the top eight at state for a certain number of years in a row, the school can move up to the next division. The schools can keep moving up until they reach the 5A division.
“They have a bigger advantage against us because they have access to better coaches and they can practice all day long if they want to,” Presswood said.
Teammates enjoyed the experience of the tournament and the bonding between players.
“It’s been a great experience,” Barnes said. “We’ve had a lot of long pre-set matches and it’s been very, very intense tennis.”
The teams feel more confident of the approaching tournaments.