From left, Deerfield tennis players Will Calhoun, Reid Wright, Pete Langstaff and Robert Newsome pose with their trophies after the final day of the GISA individual state tennis tournament. Calhoun and Langstaff beat their teammates in the doubles finals to win the GISA Class AAA state title.
MACON — Deerfield’s Will Calhoun and Pete Langstaff spent two years trying to prove they belonged on the same tennis court with teammates Robert Newsome and Reid Wright.
On Tuesday afternoon, it happened in an instant.
Calhoun and Langstaff, who played as the No. 2 doubles team at DWS behind Newsome and Wright for the past two years, emerged on top Tuesday against their teammates, winning the GISA Class AAA state doubles championship, 6-2, 6-4.
“We had been looking for a chance to prove ourselves, and the individual state championship was our chance,” Langstaff said. “We have come such a long way the past two years. We just worked on being a lot more consistent in matches and learning how to play against tougher competition.”
Calhoun and Langstaff lost to Newsome and Reid in last year’s region tournament, but they got revenge on their teammates — who they played countless times at practice over the past two years — in this year’s region tournament.
They parlayed that region title into the No. 1 seed in this year’s state tournament and then ran the table in Macon, where they gave DWS its only individual state title in tennis this year.
“We have been playing together for two years now, and we have chemistry built up together,” Calhoun said. “We just went out there and played our game. We knew we could beat them because we had before, but we were just hoping we could do it (Tuesday).”
When they finally did, the duo shared a handshake and a hug on the court after the final point.
“I just told him we did it,” Calhoun said. “It felt good to prove ourselves.”
They lost in last year’s state semifinals to the No. 1 team from Stratford Academy, but this year’s title bout was all DWS.
“It was a win-win for us,” DWS coach Meredith Gruhl said. “Unfortunately, someone was going to have to be disappointed. It was a good match, and I am proud of both (teams). Now we just have to get back on our horse and try to win state as a team (next week).”
Deerfield nearly swept the girls and boys doubles titles Tuesday, but Amy Rao and Katerina Mathes had to settle for state runner-up after falling to Westfield’s Stephanie Campbell and Valarie McClure, 6-2, 6-4.
“They played great, they just couldn’t pull it out,” Gruhl said of the effort by Rao and Mathes.
DWS No. 1 girls singles star Joyner Tyson made the semifinals but was beaten by the eventual state champ, Brooke Stephens of Augusta Prep, 6-2, 7-6.