Hannah Gianan, Jen Lewis and Esther Kwon rode home from Richland in a state of shock.
Lewis and Gianan defeated Union’s Jelena Vidovic and Sydney Wallace in the championship round for the third time in the past three weeks. After losing in the first round of the singles bracket, Kwon won three matches in a row to finish in fifth place. These efforts helped the Papermakers earn third place at the state tennis tournament.
“It was hard to believe it actually all happened,” Kwon said. “I’m really proud of Jen and Hannah, and I can’t thank our coaches enough for their encouragement. It really was a great bonding experience for all of us.”
Lewis and Gianan rallied from three games back in the second set to force a tiebreaker against Vidovic and Wallace.
“I remember being down 1-4, Jen turned to me and said ‘it’s not over yet. We can still pull this out,’” Gianan said.
Lewis said the tennis ball kept going back and forth. Neither team managed a 2-point advantage until Camas won the tiebreaker and the match 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).
“Those are two amazing and very sweet girls. They left it all on the court and so did we,” Lewis said. “Winning a state title is something that nobody is ever going to be able to take away from you. You’re always going to have that.”
Head coach Jonathan Burton said what Gianan and Lewis accomplished in that final set and tiebreaker was nothing short of remarkable. It showed how hard they were willing to fight to become state champions.
“They were on the ropes, but they just stepped up and put more pressure on the Union team than they could handle,” Burton said.
Kwon had her back against the wall after dropping the first set in a loser-out match. A heart-to-heart with Burton turned her whole tournament around.
“He didn’t want me to walk away in that fashion after seeing all the hard work and effort I had done to get here,” Kwon said. “That really meant a lot to me.”
Camas finished in third place with 16 points as a team. Inglemoor earned second place with 17 points. Garfield won the team title with 19 points.
The time for the Papermakers has come. They had never beaten Union in a dual match before this season. Gianan and Lewis own three championship victories against the Titans.
“Schools have their time when they get a collection of special players. It’s been our time this year,” Burton said. “We are very thankful that these girls have chosen to play high school tennis. There’s something unique about representing your school and community.”