NEW CARLISLE — First, first, third, first, first.
That's where New Prairie's No. 1 singles, No. 2 singles, No. 3 singles, No. 1 doubles and No. 2 doubles finished in the 15th annual New Prairie Varsity Boys Tennis Tournament on Saturday afternoon, featuring eight high schools in the area.
If it wasn't clear by the placings of the Cougars' players, New Prairie dominated all morning and afternoon, tallying 53 points. To put things in perspective, John Glenn, the second-place team, finished with 33 points, 20 shy of the Cougars. Michigan City participated as well, totaling 22 points for a fifth-place finish.
As for the absolute clinic New Prairie put on Saturday, Marquette coach Earl Cunningham, a regular and expert on tennis in the region, was enthralled.
"They might set the points record for this tournament," Cunningham said as the finals were getting underway. "I mean, look around. How many New Prairie kids are playing right now? It's got to be at least half of them."
Not only did the Cougars win just about every single bracket there was in the tournament, the fashion in which a few championship matches were won could have been just as or more dominant than the team performance.
No. 1 singles player, Nick Boyd, swept the first two rounds of the day, going 10-0, 10-0 to advance to the finals. The Hobart No. 1 singles player gave Boyd a bit of trouble in the championship match, seeming to make a minimal amount of mistakes. But Boyd kept persisting and won the No. 1 singles bracket, 10-4.
"This feels great," Boyd said. "I lost last year, so winning now is awesome. The biggest thing for me was keeping my composure and not try to do too much. I used to try to overpower my opponents, but now, like I did today, I just try to really focus on placing the ball where it needs to be."
Boyd's counterpart of a nasty 1-2 duo, No. 2 singles player Wrigley Hemphill, made quick work of each of his opponents as well. It took a little bit for the southpaw to get started, winning the first match, 10-4. Hemphill was rolling from then-on, though, winning the semifinal match 10-1 and the No. 2 singles final by the same score.
"I was really proud of the effort I put in today," Hemphill said. "It was one of those days where everything was working for me, but I liked how I hustled and gave it my all throughout."
Even New Prairie's head coach, Joel Hostetler, was as impressed as anyone out on the courts with his team's dominance.
"Usually it's a real close tournament that comes down to the last match," Hostetler said. "But we've killed it this year. I didn't think we were that good, but hey, I guess we are."
Kyle Yackus (three singles) and Dante Morland/Josiah Miller (two doubles) went 2-1 for City, finishing fifth. Connor Reynolds (two singles) and John Bruning/Lucas White (one singles) each took fourth.