Blake junior Ben Ingbar said it’s tougher competing against a teammate than a typical opponent, noting the familiarity each has with the other.
That didn’t stop him from defeating teammate Jack Barker to win the Class 1A singles championship Friday at Reed-Sweatt Family Tennis Center in south Minneapolis.
Ingbar, the top seed, defeated the No. 2 seed Barker 7-5, 7-6 (6-3) to win his first individual state title. Ingbar rallied in the first set after trailing 3-1 and closed out Barker, a sophomore, in a tiebreaker.
“I thought I was just playing really solid,” said Ingbar, who lost last year’s Class 1A final to teammate Charlie Adams and won the doubles title in 2014.
“I stepped up in bigger moments, and things just fell my way.”
Blake coach Ted Warner said he thought the match was the highest-quality tennis he’s seen in a final for a long time. Sometimes one teammate may be a little nervous in these situations, but not in this case, he said.
“This was just great quality all the way through,” he said. “They put their heart into it and at the end they’re still great friends. That’s the way it should be.”
Ingbar and Barker have played together on Blake’s varsity team for three years. The two hit with each other at practice, Adams said, and improved dramatically from the start of the season.
Barker won three of the first four games Friday before Ingbar closed the set on a 6-2 run. The two traded games to start the second set before Ingbar won the tiebreaker.
“He brought his best for the biggest moments and didn’t lose his cool when the match got close,” Barker said. “I know right after this, we’ll go back to being pretty close friends.”
Blake duo wins doubles crown
Blake junior Owen Rickert and eighth-grader Joe Mairs won the doubles title over St. Peter senior Zeke Haugen and sophomore Rafat Solaiman, 6-3, 6-1.
Blake has won the singles and doubles titles every year since 2013.