Gianan returns to her favorite tournament

Two-time champion wants another shot at singles title

“Our athletic director (Rory Oster) called her one of the best athletes Camas High School has ever seen, and I would stand behind that statement because she has done remarkable things. Two state (titles), a second-place finish and she’s going back for more.”

— Jonathan Burton, head coach

There’s only one thing missing from Hannah Gianan’s Camas High School tennis time capsule.

The two-time doubles champion and singles runner-up has a shot at redemption in the 4A state tournament Friday and Saturday at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club in Richland.

“Our athletic director called her one of the best athletes Camas High School has ever seen, and I would stand behind that statement because she has done remarkable things,” said head coach Jonathan Burton. “Two state championships, a second-place finish and she’s going back for more. Beyond that, Hannah has created one of the most pleasant team environments that we’ve had.”

Burton has been coaching tennis at Camas for more than 20 years, so that’s saying a lot.

“We have a really strong sense of team and she’s been responsible for that,” Burton said. “Not just this year, but the four years that she’s been with us. I’m really pleased about that.”

Gianan has been put through the ringer this season. Torn muscles on her left side and tendinitis on her right forced the captain to take a two-month break from competition.

“Before I got injured, I was playing 20 or more hours a week, which is a lot,” Gianan said. “I was getting mentally and physically tired from all the wear and tear on the court.”

Not being able to play the game she loves was humbling. During practice, she could only stand behind a cart and give pointers to her teammates. But just like any other obstacle in her life, Gianan took it in stride with a smile.

“One, it brought to my attention how much I actually enjoy coaching. And two, it made me not want to take for granted everything that I’ve done,” she said. “I don’t want to throw this away. I’m not going to stop. It makes me realize how much I have to be thankful for.”

Once she was cleared to return to the court, Gianan jumped in with both feet. She captured the district championship May 13 and finished fifth at bi-districts May 20.

“Her arm was mummified with that KT Tape,” Burton said. “She’s feeling that, but the talent is there and the will is there. I think she will battle through.”

After losing a three-set quarterfinal match that lasted three hours, Gianan returned the next day and won three straight matches in a seven-hour span.

“I think that loss opened my eyes to the competition out there,” she said. “It was a great match. I haven’t been pushed like that in probably almost a year.”

Maggie Egan, of Rogers in Puyallup, bested Gianan 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5. Egan got second place at bi-districts.

Burton said Gianan was tenacious in the consolation bracket, and battled back to fifth place.

“Hannah could have won that match. It’s a game of inches. The other girl found a few more opportunities than Hannah did,” Burton said. “They might meet again this weekend. I’d like to see that.”

Although Gianan believes her mental game is stronger than it was last year, she’s still dealing with pain. Her execution fades at times, and her range of motion on the court is limited, but she still needs to trust that her shot is going to be there for her when she needs it.

“Just because I’m injured, that doesn’t take away from my competitiveness,” Gianan said. “That’s not going to take away how much I’m going to push. If I need to, I’m going to push through it. I’m not going to stop.”