Local teams have many reasons to celebrate

There is a reason that sports receive so much attention in our society. Actually, they are several reasons, but one of them is that sports often reflect the best of human nature, with athletes challenging themselves and trying to be a little bit better than they were the day before.

When those challenges result in triumph, it is worthy of celebration, and both Camas and Washougal have had plenty of reasons to celebrate in recent weeks.

At the top of the heap is the Camas High School boys swim team, which dominated the Class 4A state meet two weeks ago and brought home a championship. As coach Mike Bemis said, “I’m totally thrilled. We’ve never won one. This trophy has never been south of Tacoma.” It is in Clark County now, the result of a team effort led by Mark Kim’s victories in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races. “We’re all still kind of in shock and awe,” Kim said. “This has been our goal throughout the season, and we finally attained it.”

The Camas swimmers, however, were not the only reason for celebration. Camas’ gymnastics team finished second at state; the girls basketball teams at both Camas and Washougal reached the quarterfinals of their state tournaments; Washougal’s Abby Lees completed an undefeated season and won her weight class at the state wrestling championships; and Camas’ Dylan Ingram also captured a state title in wrestling.

Unlike what is packaged as “reality” in our TV shows, sports present us with unedited conflict and resolution. There are compelling back stories along with trial and error.

And behind all competitors is a community that provides support and helps them to achieve their goals. For every team or individual that enjoyed success at the state level in recent weeks, there are parents who made countless commutes to and from practice; there are coaches who spent countless hours preparing and mentoring young athletes so they could reach their potential.

The success of the young athletes at Camas and Washougal reflects well upon both communities and the opportunities this area provides for its children. And that is worthy of celebration.