The tennis season just keeps getting more exciting for four Camas Papermakers and their coaches.
On Saturday at Clover Park High School in Lakewood, freshmen Esther Kwon and Jen Lewis led Camas to first place as a team at the bi-district girls tournament. Kwon clinched the singles championship with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against Maggie Henderson of Auburn Mountain View. Lewis finished off Bonney Lake’s Alise McCoy 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 for third place.
“These are two 15-year-olds facing high pressure situations,” said head coach Jonathan Burton. “These tennis days can be long and exhausting. The mark of a good player is somebody who can stay focused for that duration of time. They both did that.”
Senior Gus Cooper and freshman Jonathan Ho had their hands full in the bi-district boys doubles bracket. Those Papermakers survived two match points that would have eliminated them from the tournament, before coming back to win 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7). A precise backhand by Ho sent the ball down the line with so much backspin that their opponents couldn’t stop it.
“As a coach, I really enjoyed watching that match,” Burton said. “Their reaction when they won was genuine and heartfelt.”
Kwon, Lewis and the team of Cooper and Ho will be playing in the state tournament Friday and Saturday, in Richland. Burton hopes their best tennis is still yet to come.
“I would like to see them going in feeling like they might surprise themselves and the field,” he said. “There are some good players and teams in that tournament. I hope they go in with the mindset that they can do some damage, create an upset and push themselves through.”
Burton said this is the most successful Camas girls tennis season since he joined the program in 2000. On May 7, the girls were crowned district champions on a six-point swing over Columbia River. Kwon defeated Lewis for the singles title, Katie Shin finished fifth in the singles bracket and Lily Hsu and Meghal Sheth snatched fifth in the doubles bracket.
All of those points paid off for the Papermakers. Twelve days later, Kwon and Lewis locked up the bi-district title for Camas on their own.
To find a better season on record, assistant coach Annie Sumpter said she would have to go all the way back to when she won the state singles tournament as a senior in 1977. The Papermakers also brought home the state team title that year.