Last week, with the team’s trust in him as its ace, the senior broke the Mustangs’ record in career victories. He captured his 46th win against Glynn Academy, leading Kennesaw Mountain to the team title of the Golden Isles Invitational at Jekyll Island.
“It feels pretty good,” Barris said of the record. “I didn’t know I would be able to do it this year. I knew I had to win 10, or something like that, and that it was going to be close.”
Barris is now sitting at 48 wins for his career and is 13-2 on the season, going into the Region 4AAAAAA tournament, which starts today with the third-seeded Mustangs hosting Campbell.
Barris’ only losses of the season came against North Cobb’s Jaryd Reese and Hillgrove’s Matt Hill. Avenging one or both of those losses would help Kennesaw Mountain — which is seeded behind North Cobb and Hillgrove — win the region.
“He’s been the No. 1 singes player since five or six matches into his sophomore season and has been there ever since,” Kennesaw Mountain coach Phillip Matthews said. “He’s gotten so much bigger and stronger, and that allows him to hammer the forehand a little harder than he has before.”
As a left-hander, Barris has used that to his advantage, especially when he’s facing right-handed opponents. When he puts spin on his serve, the ball bounces the opposite direction, and Barris said that being a lefty has also helped him better access toward attacking a right-hander’s backhand.
When Barris is in a match, he’s mostly a hard-hitting baseline player known to throw players off with drop shots.
“He gives opponents something different,” Matthews said. “It’s kind of like facing a left-handed pitcher.”
Tennis has been Barris’ primary sport since he was 8 years old, but after getting burned out his sophomore year, he took a break from the game by giving basketball a shot. He’s now a two-sport star with emphasis still on tennis, but he enjoys being a 3-point threat for the Kennesaw Mountain basketball team during the winter.
Barris, who practices at the Atlanta Tennis Academy under Danny Carlson, hopes to play tennis in college and has garnered interest from Georgia College and State and North Georgia.