ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — In the grand scheme of the entire state, Western New York and Section VI hadn't exactly been known for their prowess on the tennis court during state playoffs.
"I think when I was a sophomore, I was looking at all of the history of states and who won. And there was one Section VI person," Orchard Park senior Kelly Barnes said. "So I never really expected to go as far as we did."
Barnes and her doubles partner, junior Maya Clinard, changed all of that this month with a run for the books. The two Quakers were this year's state runners-up. It's the furthest a doubles team from Section VI has ever gone.
"Going into states, we thought maybe we'll be seeded in the top eight. And then we started winning and made it to the finals," Clinard said. "It all came really fast. It was amazing."
Barnes went 12-3 in singles this fall. Meanwhile, Clinard went 14-1. But since the two of them came together as a doubles team in 2020, they haven't lost a doubles match against local competition.
"I think we meshed very well," Clinard said. "And that was the moment I think we knew we were going to go far in later years."
"You kind of have a partner to talk through each point," Barnes said. "What's winning you points, what's losing you points, what works well, and what you need to stop doing."
There wasn't much that Barnes and Clinard needed to change when they were on the court together. Even though they fell short in the state title game, their run was unlike any that a Section VI duo had ever seen.