The temperature was a sizzling 96 degrees at first serve between the Camas and Washougal high school boys tennis teams Friday.
Christian Rambousek and Santiago Altieri secured the first set for the Panthers by the score of 6-4. Andrew Lee and Anish Prasad rallied to win a 7-6 (7-4) tiebreaker for the Papermakers in the second set.
Both teams left it all on the court. Lee delivered powerful serves for aces, and Prasad put away volleys for points. Rambousek and Altieri hung in there with resilient forehands and backhands. After Lee and Prasad emerged with a 6-4 victory in the final set, the grueling match ended with a hug between the two Panthers and Papermakers.
“The guys at Washougal are really friendly,” Lee said. “I hope Camas comes back and continues to play them. It’s a great opportunity, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Prasad agreed that respect was earned on this day.
“They were great competitors,” he said. “[Altieri] is from Argentina. You don’t meet a person like that every day.”
Camas head coach Jonathan Burton enjoys seeing Lee and Prasad excel in a clutch situation during the first week of the season.
“They invested two-and-a-half hours of their lives into this. To be on the winning side is a very nice feeling,” Burton said. “We also respect our opponent. We know what it’s like to battle for that long and come away with nothing.”
Washougal head coach Angie Watts believes the loss will only make Rambousek and Altieri stronger.
“I was very impressed by how hard they worked out there, persevering to the end,” Watts said. “They left the court feeling really good about how they played. It could have gone either way. Just a few unforced errors, here and there.
“Christian and Santiago are two of my hardest workers in practice, and it shows in their matches,” she added.
Camas defeated Washougal 6-0 Friday. Wins went to Spencer Kang (6-1, 6-0), Sam Christopher (6-0, 6-0), Wilson Ho (6-2, 6-1), and the doubles teams of Tobias Pizot and Max Gantar (6-3, 7-5) and Soroush Badaili and Alex Torres (6-0, 6-2).
“I love playing against Camas,” Watts said. “There’s always such good sportsmanship and tennis etiquette. Everyone is just out there to have fun.”
“In this sport, we continue to meet every year and it continues to be a healthy and wonderful rivalry,” Burton said.
Washougal defeated Heritage 4-2 Wednesday. Rambousek and Altieri earned a 6-2, 6-1 victory. Scott Anderson and Jalen Watts won 6-4, 6-7, 6-4. Taylor Stinchfield and Riley Paladin gained a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 victory. Josh Fraught finished off his opponent 6-2, 6-2.
Camas beat Prairie 5-1 Wednesday. Ho and Brian Wang won 7-5, 7-6 (7-5). Prasad and Pizot (6-0, 6-0) and Ganter and Torres (7-5, 6-2) earned doubles victories. Kang (6-0, 6-0) and Christopher (6-0, 6-1) clinched singles wins.