Lena Richards is loud and proud to be a softball player. After shouting words of encouragement to the Papermakers all season long, the Camas High School senior second baseman was the loudest one in the dugout during the Southwest Washington All-Star Challenge Wednesday, on the Clark College softball field.
If Brian Humphreys had one word to describe his second high school state tournament, it would be “educational.” The defending champion from Camas High School was uncharacteristically 5-over par after the first three holes at Camas Meadows Wednesday. “The first day was a good experience for me to have,” Humphreys said. “It was one of the most nervous days I’ve had on the golf course. I think it will teach me how to deal with nerves like that in the future.”
Four Washougal High School seniors put the final stamp on their careers as Panthers with state medals. Adam Thomas rose to third place in the pole vault and tied his personal best mark of 14 feet, 6 inches. Thomas Normandeau ran to third place in the 800-meter event and improved his school record to 1 minute, 55.74 seconds. Mackenzie Pfeifer fired the javelin to fifth place with the throw of 124 feet, 1 inch. Michelle Greear grabbed fifth place in the discus with a toss of 112 feet, 9 inches. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” Greear said of the four Panthers bringing home state medals. “Our school better be proud of us because we worked really hard for this.”
Up on the podium is where the Camas High School track and field athletes wanted to go, and they got there together. Sixteen Papermakers earned state medals Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The Camas girls rose to second place against 48 other schools in the state. They also set a national record, two state records and five school records. “I’m really proud of all the girls,” said junior distance runner Alissa Pudlitzke. “I’ve seen all of us working hard every day in practice, rain or shine, to get here. It’s been a great season.”
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.”
Thomas Normandeau and Adam Thomas clinched district championships for Washougal Friday, in Olympia. Michelle Greear and Mackenzie Pfeifer also punched their tickets to the state track and field meet Thursday through Saturday, at Mt. Tahoma High School, in Tacoma. “You hope they enjoy their last competition in high school,” head coach Dave Hajek said of the four seniors. “They have earned the right to be there. It’s a perfect opportunity for them to celebrate their accomplishments with family.”
The Washougal softball team was happy to be in the district tournament for the first time in a decade, but heartbroken over the results. “We accomplished the first goal. Now we need to make all the goals,” said junior captain Madisen Baldwin. “Getting to districts will no longer be enough. We want to make it to the second day and then on to state.”
Jen Lewis and Hannah Gianan are now bi-district and district doubles tennis champions. All eyes will be on these two Papermakers to see if they can complete the sweep at the state tournament this weekend, in Richland. “We’re good friends. Both of us are relaxed and having a good time while playing,” Gianan said. “Remember to have fun, stay focused, play our game and we’ll be fine.”
The Camas High School boys soccer team carried the dream of getting to the Final Four back to Doc Harris Stadium Saturday, only to have another nightmare in a shootout. “I couldn’t be more proud of the guys,” said senior midfielder Matt Palodichuk. “I think all of us put everything out there We just couldn’t finish our chances.” Ferris, of Spokane, defeated the Papermakers 2-1 (5-4 in a shootout) to advance to the semifinal round of the state tournament. The season ends for Camas with just two losses, both on shootouts.
The Camas and Union softball teams shared the league title, but there could only be one district champion. After defeating Heritage, Evergreen and Battle Ground just to get this opportunity, the Papermakers were going to settle for nothing less than the grand prize. They capped off an incredible week by beating the Titans 6-4 for the district title Thursday, at Heritage High School. “It was exhausting this week, but I am very proud of everyone for the endurance it took to get through this last game,” said Harli Hubbard. The senior pitched all 29 innings for Camas and racked up 58 strikeouts. She said every pitch was worth it.