The Baker volleyball team goes for a 10th consecutive district championship.
The Gators open the defense of their District 1-1A title at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Central against the winner of Monday’s 4 p.m. match between the host Central Jaguars and Laurel Hill.
The championship match is at 6 p.m. Thursday at Central.
Crestview opens play in the District 2-6A tournament at Choctawhatchee on Monday at 6 p.m. against Mosley in the tournament semifinals.
The tournament finals are at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Bulldogs enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed behind top seed Niceville and No. 2 seed Mosley.
Tournament host Choctaw is the fourth seed and Fort Walton Beach is the fifth seed.
Baker Coach Tomikko Parks said there hasn’t been any talk about the string of championships the Gators have put together.
“We haven’t mentioned a number (of consecutive championships),” she said. “The girls just want to win. We just want to win that district championship and the number hasn’t come up in our conversations or anything.
“It’s important that we were the No. 1 seed because that means we’ve done our job in the regular season and that’s the most important thing. The girls understand how important it is to win the district championship because without the district championship, we can’t reach our other goals (of making it to the state tournament).”
Winning might be a way of life for the Gators, but for a Crestview program that has been down for several years, earning the No. 3 seed is a step in the right direction.
Bulldog Coach Kathy Combest led Baker to the first five championships in the Gator streak. Now, she’s just happy that Crestview has escaped the district cellar for the first time in close to a decade and hopes her team can find some tournament magic.
Crestview lost both of its regular season matches against Mosley, but the Bulldogs beat the Dolphins in a set — and Combest thinks Crestview might be primed to pull the upset.
“Mosley is a great team, but the game we beat them in wasn’t close,” she said. “There are teams people look at in the tournament and say, ‘We don’t want to play that team.’
“I hope we are that team that sneaks up on people as we reach our potential in the tournament. Once those girls get a taste of that success, they will want to go back. I want to see that for those girls.”