By Max Goodwin
The Barstow girls tennis team achieved a historic season, winning the high school tennis Triple Crown, taking the Class 2 Missouri singles, doubles, and team state championships.
“You really can’t do any better than that,” Barstow coach Tom O’Brien said. “We’ve never had anything like it.”
Junior Sarena Biria won the singles state title in dominant fashion. Through four rounds of the state tournament, Biria dropped just one game. She won the championship match, 2-0, over Leiloni Payton of Lincoln College Prep.
“She appeared to me to be the most dominant player in the state of Missouri,” O’Brien said of Biria.
Then Sarena Biria’s younger sister, freshman Atra Biria, was part of the state title-winning doubles team with junior Phoebe Martin. In a real demonstration of dominance, both teams in the state finals match for doubles were from Barstow. The pairing of Mary Colombo and Lia Adams finished as runners up to Biria and Martin, 2-0.
It was the first time both doubles teams in the state finals were represented by the same school.
Barstow finished off the championship season with one more title on October 23, winning the team state championship, 5-0, over Ladue Horton Watkins of St. Louis.
“It’s the best tennis I’ve ever had the privilege of sitting on the bench next to, all six of those girls,” O’Brien said.
All season, one thing Barstow did better than its opponents was activity at the net. That aggressiveness can overwhelm and make matches uncomfortable for opposing teams.
State champion Sarena Biria did not lose a match all season, currently playing some of her best tennis as one of the highest-ranked high school tennis players.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to have this good of a result, but I’m not complaining,” Biria said. “You want everybody on your team to do the best they possibly can, it’s not just about you anymore.