Panther trio prepares for district tennis tournament in Longview

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Washougal tennis players Jalen Watts, Scott Anderson and Jaden Moore (left to right) qualified for the 2A district tournament. The event takes place Friday and Saturday, at the Mint Valley Racquet Club in Longview.

Three Washougal boys tennis players are on their way to the 2A district tournament Friday and Saturday, at the Mint Valley Racquet Club in Longview.

Jaden Moore rallied to defeat Austin Humphrey of Mark Morris 1-6, 6-3, 6-2 to clinch third place in the singles bracket at the sub-district tournament Oct. 14, at Mint Valley.

“I think the biggest part was mentally staying in it and realizing it wasn’t over, even after that first set,” Moore said. “Just staying hyped up and knowing there’s still a chance to win. And, I came through. That’s something I’m always going to remember.”

Anderson and Watts beat R.A. Long’s Miles Gilchrist and Hamzah Amjad 6-4, 6-4 to qualify for the district tournament in doubles. Anderson and Watts lost in the consolation finals and finished in fourth place at sub-districts.

“We fought really hard to get to districts, but we still feel like we could have done better,” Anderson said. “Especially in our last match. We felt like we left something on the table. And so, I feel like we have something to prove at districts.”

Anderson and Watts climbed out of an 0-3 hole against Gilchrist and Amjad in the first set.

“Coming back and getting up 4-3 after we were down three games, that felt really nice,” Watts said.

“We realized we weren’t having fun on the court. And once we started having fun, our shots started going, our serves were getting better, and we just had better communication and everything fell into place,” Anderson said.

The second set was back-and-forth. Anderson said each team held serve until the Panthers finally broke the Lumberjacks in the last game.

“And that was the most relieving feeling ever, because they’re a great team and they beat us earlier in the season,” Anderson said.

Moore discovered tennis his freshman year, and now he plays it year round.

“I just really fell in love with the sport and decided this is what I’m going to focus on,” Moore said.

He looks forward to representing Washougal at the district tournament.

“I want to represent our school. Make sure people think of me as an honest player, by making good calls,” Moore said. “Just do my best out there and leave everything on the court.”

Anderson and Watts have played doubles together since their freshmen year.

“We have a strong connection, on the court and off the court,” Watts said. “It really helps when we’re on the court to have good communication so we can finish out the points.”

Now that they are both seniors, they want to make this partnership last as long as possible. The top two placers at districts advance to the state tournament at the end of May.

“Obviously, it would be nice to have a spot at state,” Anderson said. “But, starting my high school tennis career and ending it with Jalen I know is going to be awesome.”