Through bloody knuckles and three sets, Camas High School junior Jonathan Ho defeated Tanner Blake of Union for the district championship again Saturday, at the Vancouver Tennis Center.
“By now, we have each other pretty much figured out,” Ho said. “It’s a battle of wills. No more secrets.”
Ho gained the early advantage with a 6-1 victory in the first set. He started off well in the second set before scraping up his hand.
Head coach Jonathan Burton said Ho seemed to lose focus after the injury time out and Blake won the set 6-3 to tie the match.
By the time Burton went down to talk to Ho before the third set, Ho had his game face back on.
“To take a math test or an SAT test, you go in with the knowledge. In tennis, you go in with the skill. It all comes down to the duration you can stay focused,” Burton said. “Jonathan passes the test very well. He can keep his focus for a long time during a match.”
Ho won the third set 6-3 to become district champion for the second year in a row. He said he went back to what was working for him in the first set. Once he regained his focus and intensity, he didn’t let it waiver.
“You come in with this expectation. The competition was really tough this year, so it feels satisfying to meet it,” Ho said. “Once you have finally established yourself, you know you can do it over and over again.”
Burton said Ho doesn’t say a whole lot, but he could see the determination in his eyes and his mannerisms on the court.
“He’s unique in terms of his leadership and his work ethic. He is also very well respected by the players and coaches in this league,” Burton said. “He’s just a fine example of a young man who is in sports for all the right reasons. It’s wonderful to see all of the hard work he has put into this pay off with back-to-back district championships.”
Ho is pushing himself harder to prepare for the bi-district tournament Friday and Saturday, at the Capital City Tennis Center in Tumwater.
“If you want to get to state, you have to pretty much play perfect tennis,” he said. “I just want to compete as hard as I can out there, and show the drive it takes to get to that next level.”