Peninsula High School junior Allie Barry made it to the Class 3A state tennis tournament her first two years in high school.
This year, the only change in her plans is a higher placement once she gets there. Barry has yet to place in the top eight finishers at state, something she hopes to rectify this spring.
"I think I could place," Barry said. "That’s my goal. I want to go as far as I possibly can, just do my best and keep getting better before state and districts because we have a pretty good district this year, too. I’m just trying my best and trying to play as hard and as smart as I can."
While she cruises through the SPSL 3A, Barry finally got some much-needed competition on April 22 against Gig Harbor High’s No. 1 tennis product, freshman star Joyce Park. Despite losing the match, 6-3 and 6-1, Barry appreciated the challenge.
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"Yes, yes, it’s really nice (having some competition)," Barry said, emphatically. "Joyce is just such an amazing and nice player, too."
Peninsula coach Cheri Ausboe appreciated the challenge for her No. 1 singles player, also.
"That’s the level of play that she’ll face in districts and state," Ausboe said. "By the time you get to the quarters or semis at districts, everyone is at that level. That’s the level you’ve got to be at, and be prepared to go higher, to place at districts and get a better seed for state."
Ausboe added that Barry’s work ethic has made her an even better player than when she arrived.
"We’ve seen a lot of growth from last year," Ausboe said. "Her serves are better. Her net game is getting better. If she continues to improve, her level of play will hopefully get her more wins at state and a higher place at districts. Sometimes you get to a certain level, some people kind of level out. But we’re still seeing growth and improvement with her."
While Barry wishes she could have played a little better against Park, she conceded the freshman is a talented player, especially for her age.
"It was a good match," Barry said. "Joyce is an amazing player. I wasn’t expecting anything less than a hard match. There’s things that you do in a match that you feel like you could have done better. But Joyce is a great player and I think she still would’ve beat me either way."
Barry has not only been the team’s brightest talent, but has embraced her leadership role as well.
"She’s very good about trying to help lead drills and warmups, being the role model on the court," Ausboe said. "She’s done a good job this year. She organized a team dinner to get all the girls to bond. I thought that was a fun something that we haven’t done before. She’s just a very uplifting type of person. She definitely is someone that could get girls to look up to her and look at her skill level, and think, ‘Maybe I could be that good too, if I practice that hard.’"