Nothing gets Camas and Washougal high school athletes, coaches and fans more riled up than seeing orange on one side and red on the other.
On a sunny Friday in Washougal, the Papermaker boys tennis team defeated the Panthers 4-2. The teams split the first four matches, but the final two were the most contested.
Jake Hsu of Camas topped Washougal’s Loring Moore 6-0, 6-3. The second set became more of a battle of wits, but Hsu rose to the challenge.
“I was up after the first set. In the second set, I started slipping away,” Hsu said. “It gets tough under pressure, but you got to hang in there and play the best you can. It worked out today.”
The outcome of the match hung in the balance of the third doubles match, which reached a third set. Papermakers Marty Horn and Matt Brumfield outlasted Panthers Chris Norton and Brian Price 6-3, 5-7, 6-3.
Other wins for Camas went to Brandon Kang at singles (6-0, 6-1) and the doubles duo of Richard Nakagawa and Connor King (6-1, 6-3). Had Washougal won that last match, it would have come down to a sets tiebreaker. That’s how close it was.
“It’s real nice to seal the win with our third doubles,” said Camas head coach Jonathan Burton. “I am so happy for Matt Brumfield. He worked his tail off to get that last varsity spot. It was great for both of those guys to face that adversity, and come out with a win.”
Burton said he was impressed by the growth of the Panthers on the tennis courts.
“Overall, their team is pretty solid. They are deeper than they have been in the past,” he said. “That is because Eric and Linda do such a great job developing their mid-level players.”
Washougal got off to a good start. Nico Severich defeated Triton Pitassi 6-2, 6-1. The foreign exchange student from Bolivia said tennis is a big sport back home, and he is finding it to be pretty popular t Washougal as well.
“It’s not just me. My teammates are also doing well. We play as a team, and improve and get better as a team,” Severich said. “I’m very happy to be here. The school is incredible, and it’s a nice town. All of the green and the trees. I like it, very much.”
Gus Cooper and Sam Lin put together some strong rallies for Camas, but Patrick McCarthy and Eyan Cagle emerged victorious for Washougal 7-5, 6-4.
“We missed a couple of shots, but we were able to talk to each other and stay focused,” Cagle said. “Communication was a big thing.”
The Panthers defeated Prairie 4-2 Wednesday, in Washougal. Severich won a tiebreaker at first singles 6-2, 7-6 (6-3). Norton and Moore also took a close match at third doubles 7-6 (7-3), 6-3. Other Washougal victories went to Cagle-McCarthy (6-3, 6-0) and David Choi-Backus Peet (6-3, 6-4).
Since the Panthers and Papermakers compete in different leagues, opportunities for the orange and red to tangle for bragging rights are few and far between. As long as the weather cooperates, the tennis coaches said they will do what they can to keep the rivalry alive.
“Getting these two schools together again is so refreshing. We missed out on that opportunity the last couple of years because of rain outs,” said Washougal coach Eric Balholm. “It shows our kids what they need to work on. Whether they won or lost doesn’t matter. It’s more about, what did I come away with from this match? What did I do well, and what do I need to work on? That’s all part of the cycle of becoming a better tennis player.”
“The traditional rivalry is lost on these guys. For me, it is always a pleasure to coach against Eric and Linda,” Burton said. “That would be my greatest motivation to having more matches with Washougal. When we go up against them, we know it’s going to be a positive and healthy experience.”