Tri-Washougal champions share defining moment

Three Panthers rise to the top at sub-districts

Amelia Quatermass, Christina Zack and Haley Briggs are still grinning after what they accomplished for Washougal at the sub-district tennis tournament.

“You can tell everyone on this team wants it,” Quatermass said. “We may be a small school, but we can do this. It’s all in the heart.”

Quatermass wore her heart on her sleeve as she outlasted Ridgefield’s Sarah Kaufman 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 for the sub-district singles tournament championship Saturday, at R.A. Long High School. Zack and Briggs fought with desire and defeated Jamie Isaacson and Amber Olson of Mark Morris 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 to become sub-district doubles champions for the second year in a row.

“It’s hard having all that pressure on you,” Briggs said. “We just had to keep digging deeper. That was our mindset during those last two games.”

“We can’t think just because we beat them all season, it’s going to happen again,” Zack added. “Take every game, every point and every ball as it comes to you.”

Quatermass played well in the first set, but lost all her momentum in the second. Kaufman took the first game of the third set. The second one would be determined after a long deuce sequence. Both girls had the advantage, but were unable to put the other away. Finally, Quatermass flicked the ball over Kaufman and dropped it in front of the back line for the winner.

“It’s hard when you have two equal players. It gets to a point where we’re both laughing on the court,” Quatermass said. “Our team motto is passion, patience and perseverance. I definitely did all three today.”

Kaufman finished strong on vollies and gained a 3-1 advantage. Quatermass turned her frustration into fire. She thought back to when Kaufman beat her in a third-set tiebreaker at sub-districts last season. Kaufman also beat Quatermass twice this season. That was all the anger this Panther needed to sink the teeth into her rival and become champion.

“Tennis is not just a physical sport. It’s a mental sport. It shows how well-rounded you have to be,” Quatermass said. “This was my goal. I wanted to make it to districts. Hard work pays off.”

Briggs and Zack battled back from a loss in the second set to win the doubles title. Zack served back-to-back aces to help the two Panthers break a 5-5 tie in the third set.

“I did that. Now it’s on to the next point. Let’s go. I was so in the zone,” Zack said. “You can have confidence in your partner, but if you don’t have it in yourself, your partner is going to suffer.”

The seventh game started with Zack returning shots in the back court. Briggs interrupted the flow with a smash that caught Isaacson and Olson off guard and scored a point for the Panthers. Briggs fired her backhand across the court and beyond the reach of the two Monarchs. She also smashed two more tennis balls to set up match point.

“I had never got that many in a row before,” Briggs said. “I was so stoked.”

Zack hit a perfect final volley and watched the ball bounce between Olson and Isaacson for the victory.

“Right when she fed it to me, I saw that hole and said don’t mess this up,” Zack said. “When I saw it get by Jamie, I just melted.”

Quatermass, Zack and Briggs are ready to accomplish more for Washougal at the district tournament Friday and Saturday, at the Mint Valley Racquet Club, in Longview.

“We can’t let the other teams intimidate us,” Zack said. “We have to remember we are there for a reason. We deserve to be there just like everybody else.”