South welcomes Huntington in impromptu dual meet | News, Sports, Jobs

Photo by Kerry Patrick Parkersburg South senior Evan Barker returns a forehand during his No. 1 singles exhibition match against Huntington during Saturday’s dual meet at Erickson All-Sports Facility.

PARKERSBURG – Being ranked No. 1 on the tennis team has its quirks.

On one side of the coin, you are viewed as the best among your teammates. On the flip side, you are paired against the best players opposing teams have to offer.

For Parkersburg South’s Evan Barker and Meredith Kupfner, life atop the challenge ladder has experienced its share of rough patches. Barker sees the opportunity to bring out the best in his game. The senior welcomed the opportunity to meet Huntington’s AJ Mercer for the second time in two weeks during a scheduled quad meet at Erickson All-Sports Facility, but Mercer did not make the trip.

Instead, Barker faced the No. 5 player from Huntington in an exhibition and won 8-1.

Huntington won the boys and girls portion by identical 6-1 decisions in what turned out to be a dual meet between the two schools. A choir performance kept Parkersburg from making an appearance. Lincoln also did not compete.

“I played (Mercer) a week or two ago, and it didn’t go very well,” Barker said. “I wish I could play him again because I like playing really good opponents. He is one of a kind – I would enjoy playing him again. “

For Kupfner, climbing two spots from her sophomore season has resulted in quite the awakening and an experience she can build upon for her senior year.

“It’s a lot different than playing No. 3 singles,” Kupfner said.

“I just try to stick in there and play as well as I can. I have been trying to be more consistent and be more energetic when I play. I still kind of struggle with that, but consistency is what I have been trying to work on most. “

Saturday’s match served as the final home meet for six South seniors (Barker, Devon Martin, Dylan White, Kimi Sturm and foreign exchange students Hugo Hammer and Alita Mikhael).

“The team has such a great bond – we all love each other, so we are really sad about the seniors leaving,” Kupfner said.

Barker, Martin and Sturm earned four letters as members of the South tennis program. Barker reminisced about time spent on his home court of him.

“I loved hitting heaters on this court – those feel pretty nice,” Barker said. “This place will sit with me for a long time. I’ll definitely come back and hit. But yes, I love this place. These are good courts to hit on. “

South now enters the tournament portion of its schedule. Beginning Monday and running through Thursday in Wheeling, the Patriots compete at the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Championships. The following week, South joins Parkersburg at City Park for the regional tennis meet on May 4-5.

“I have my eye on one opponent I think I am going to play,” Barker said. “You have to win one match to make it to state as a one seed, and I think I will be matched up with a certain person. So I am looking to beat him. “

Contact Kerry Patrick at

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