Individually, Bishop McGuinness’ John Byrne and Jonathan Kraft had always been solid performers. Kraft won the No. 2 singles championship as a freshman last year while Byrne placed third in a loaded field at No. 1 singles.
But with this being Byrne’s senior year, he wanted to go out in style — a champion. The only way that was going to happen was if the two forces became one.
All season the No. 1 doubles team proved they were going to be in the conversation in the race for the Class 5A championship.
And despite a rough start, they persevered to a straight-sets victory over Tulsa Kelley to earn the state championship Saturday night at the OKC Tennis Center.
"This feels great, unbelievable,” Byrne said. "It’s something we’ve worked real hard for all year.”
It was special for Byrne because it was his first title. It was a totally different reason for being special for Kraft.
Kraft’s father died earlier this year, and when asked what Saturday’s victory meant, the sophomore finally released some of that emotion, fighting back tears.
"This is so tough.