A kick, swish and a smash

Briggs shines in three sports for Washougal

o The Post-Record is taking nominations for Camas and Washougal Young Athletes of the Week of all ages

o Contact Dan Trujillo at 735-4676, or dan.trujillo@camaspostrecord.com

o Provide a photo of the athlete, his or her name, sport and a list of qualifications

o The Post-Record is taking nominations for Camas and Washougal Young Athletes of the Week of all ages

o Contact Dan Trujillo at 735-4676, or dan.trujillo@camaspostrecord.com

o Provide a photo of the athlete, his or her name, sport and a list of qualifications

Haley Briggs kicked, swished and smashed her senior year at Washougal High School.

Besides the balls and nets she attacked in soccer, basketball and tennis, Briggs also broke in three new uniforms. Fishback Stadium, the Joe Brown Gymnasium and the school’s tennis courts became her playgrounds.

“It takes time and commitment. You’re working year-around. If you’re not doing one sport, you’re doing the other one,” Briggs said. “You get to meet a lot of great people, and you get to stay active. If you get burnt out on one sport, you can always do the other one.”

In soccer, Briggs scored the winning goal for Washougal in double overtime against Woodland. The Panthers qualified for the district playoffs, and went 1-2.

Briggs and teammate Isabelle Sampson formed an inseparable bond on the field together that began when they were freshmen. They will be playing soccer at Lower Columbia Community College, in Longview, this fall.

“Now that we get to take our game up to the collegiate level, it’s going to be a blast,” Briggs said. “We get to play with each other for two more years.”

Briggs, Crystal Chase, Alyssa Blankenship, Rae Ann Allen and Jolynn Wenick helped Washougal beat Black Hills for the school’s first playoff victory in girls basketball in 32 years.

“It was an intense game, from start to finish. Instead of shutting down, we just kept pushing,” Briggs said. “That’s what brought us the win, coming together in the second half.”

Briggs and Chase have been connected on the basketball court since fifth grade. Allen and Blankenship joined the Future Lady Panthers youth program a year later. Briggs said they will both be back with a vengeance during their senior year.

“I definitely hope they can make it to state,” Briggs said. “When they play at Mark Morris and R.A. Long, I’ll be right up there cheering them on.”

After dabbling in singles matches at the beginning of the tennis season, Briggs formed a strong partnership with fellow senior Sami Anderson. They went undefeated in league matches and captured the sub-district doubles championship.

“Sami and I were close from playing basketball and tennis together,” Briggs said. “Our friendship has only gotten stronger.”

Briggs won her first sub-district tennis title with Christina Zack in 2014. They also fought through the district tournament and advanced to state. Briggs said those three weeks with Zack were some of the best times in high school.

“Christina got the winning point at subs, and I got the one at districts. It was just amazing,” Briggs said. “I’m glad we both made it that far for her senior year. It was something she always wanted.”

Briggs dedicated her final season of Washougal tennis to her grandparents, Linda and Eric Balholm, who retired from coaching after the year was over.

“Throughout the whole season, we kept it together. I’m so thankful I got to spend so much time with them,” Briggs said. “Every single game I played was for them.”

Briggs has been to several graduations at Washougal in anticipation of her own. On Saturday, she will walk on to the field at Fishback Stadium for the last time.

“This is it. I can’t believe it’s my turn,” she said. “Without getting to meet all the friends I’ve made, high school wouldn’t be the same. The sports wouldn’t mean so much without my teammates, coaches and fans.

“When you’re getting ready to play the game, the adrenaline is just pumping,” Briggs said. “You see everyone out there to cheer for you. It makes me want to do the best that I can every night, and every day in practice.”

Briggs gained 11 varsity letters, as well as an assortment of all-league and inspirational awards. She said the saddest part was turning in those new soccer, basketball and tennis uniforms knowing she will not get to wear them again next year. But, nobody can take those Washougal “W’s” away from her.

“These letters and awards mean a lot to me,” Briggs said. “I’m going to put them somewhere safe so I can look at them every now and then.”

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