KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The trophy case at one metro high school is getting pretty crowded.
The girls tennis team at Barstow High School spent their season winning, and taking home every tennis trophy they could. The Knights (7-5) had a smashing season in 2021 and recorded a clean sweep at October’s MSHSAA tennis tournament in Springfield, winning the Class Two team championship over LaDue Horton Watkins.
In addition to team gold, Barstow won the Class Two singles with junior star Sarena Biria beat Lincoln Prep’s Leiloni Payton 6-0, 6-1. The Knights closed their triple crown by winning Class Two’s doubles championship as one team of players from Barstow beat another from the same school.
“Ted Lasso could have won with this group,” Tom O’Brien, longtime Barstow Coach, said. “You start with good players.”
O’Brien said he believes his top three players are the best in the state. Combine that with the program’s emphasis on doubles tennis, and this program’s dominance is easy to understand.
“There aren’t many people who are going to beat us. We needed to win two out of three. In the finals when we won all three doubles matches. I knew it was over. I’ve never had that comfort zone before,” O’Brien said.
“I think just the acceptance of our team and the way we all come together and just the feeling of accomplishment after all the hours we put in together is just really rewarding. You’re holding the trophy and you’re all there together,” Mary Colombo, a junior tennis player, said.
“We were all part of something at this school and we made an impact and I want others to look at this and see this as their opportunity to do the same,” Aishi Suthi, another Barstow junior, said.
The Barstow girls championship caps a heck of a year around this school. Back in the springtime, Barstow’s boys won the school’s first-ever boys championship, proving this small school is a big-time tennis power in Missouri.
The Knights girls championship team has no seniors at all, which suggests winning state tennis titles could become a regular match. Barstow had company at this year’s state team tournament. Grain Valley finished fourth in Class Two, while St. Teresa’s and Park Hill advanced to the final four in Class Three.