The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

May 16, 2014

Chance meeting leads to one of state’s most dynamic duos

NORMAN — So Max Gillett and Russell Gehring were in DECA class together. It’s a sort of marketing, business and entrepreneurship class. You know, building tomorrow’s leaders.

Gillett, seeing that Gehring was wearing a “tennis” shirt, decided he’d take the lead.

“I said, ‘Hey, I bet I could beat you in tennis,’” Gillett explained Wednesday, in the middle of state tourney net practice.

What Gillett, who’s headed to William and Mary to play football, a slot tight end, he’s been told, didn’t know about Gehring was that, only last year, playing for Okmulgee, the first-year Tiger had finished second in the Class 4A No. 1 singles draw.

What Gehring didn’t know about Gillett was that he knew anything about tennis, but, “Tennis was my main sport growing up,” Gillett said.

Gehring won, barely, 7-6.

With that, Gillett had an entirely new appreciation for the new kid on the block. Also, Gehring came to understand that, holy cow, the almost 250-pound lineman football player knew his way around a tennis court.

“That’s exactly how it went,” Gehring said.

It’s a great story, made all the better because today begins Gillett’s and Gehring’s run at the Class 6A state tennis tournament at Will Rogers Tennis Center in Oklahoma City.

Playing in a double-tough regional at Bixby on Tuesday, the tandem, according to coach Kelly Stout, “ …they opened my eyes.”

“They had Jenks cracking their racquets on the ground. (The Jenks) coach had them doing push-ups, as they were throwing their racquets. It was a great match. It was fun to watch.”

Jenks won the match, but the Tigers had made their point. Also, Stout sees the Trojan team is a likely No. 3 seed and he sees Gillett and Gehring as right there with them. Indeed, though it may not be probable, he thinks his team has “a shot to actually win it.”

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