Caleb Barnes concocted the North Marion Doubles Tournament to raise money for the boys and girls tennis teams.

Tradition has to start somewhere.

That’s what Husky boys tennis coach Caleb Barnes has in mind while organizing the inaugural North Marion Doubles Tournament.

“This is our very first fundraising tournament,” Barnes said. “I hope it becomes an annual event.”

Funding for high school athletics is always scarce, with dozens of teams competing for a slice of revenue that can only stretch so far. Fundraising for each sport has become the norm, and heading into his first summer as head coach of the boys team, Barnes thought a local tournament would be just the thing to help pad the team coffers while offering a fun event for the community that helps spread awareness of the North Marion tennis program.

The idea came about 10 miles to the south, where Woodburn boys tennis coach Tom Lonergan has been hosting an annual tournament – the Woodburn Open – for 37 years. Recent North Marion graduate Austin Berkey played tennis for his first two years as a Bulldog under Lonergan before transferring to become a Husky for his junior and senior seasons.

Berkey was familiar with the Woodburn Open, having won the 3.0/3.5 singles bracket in 2012, and worked with Barnes to help cultivate the idea for a similar tournament at North Marion as a tennis fundraiser.

“That kind of inspired me,” Barnes said. “Why don’t we do something like that too? It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

Thus, the North Marion Doubles Tournament was born. The event will be held at North Marion High School on Aug. 9 at 9 a.m. Divisions are split six ways between junior varsity and varsity levels for men’s, women’s and mixed doubles teams.

Being the first tournament of its kind at North Marion, the rules are pretty straightforward, Barnes said. Players are requested to bring one can of balls per team, and all entrants 18 years or older must enter the varsity divisions. Teams are guaranteed at least two matches, and awards will be given to the top two teams in each division.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the general fund split between the boys and girls tennis programs. Each spring, the tennis programs must account for costs associated with travel, tournament fees, balls, equipment, jerseys and more. While the school budgets money for all the sports, any additional money raised by the tournament will allow for the boys and girls teams to afford more than just basic needs.

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