Camas’ No. 1 singles player senior Sam Merrill lost in districts to Andrea Basara of Battle Ground last season, so there were nerves when the two girls faced each other again this year at the 4A district tournament at Club Green Meadows.
“I was super nervous,” Merrill said, after winning the district singles championship and earning her way to the bi-district tournament. “It was nerve racking, but as I got my rhythm down, I was able to finish it out for the win.”
Head Camas tennis coach Jonathan Burton said it’s never a bad thing when his players are a little nervous.
“I encouraged Sam, and tried to help her think about just how much she’s improved this season,” Burton said.
The first set was tight, but Merrill pulled away in the second set to easily win 6-1.
Two other Camas seniors will join Merrill at the bi-district tournament in Kent, Washington, May 17-19. The doubles team of Lucinda Zhang and Olivia Doumitt advanced to win the district championship. The top seven players from bi-districts will go to state.
The Papermakers also won the district team title with a total team effort.
“Instead of getting a first and second, which would usually be sufficient to win a tournament, all of our players contributed points,” Burton said.
The Camas team won the district tournament with 21 points, Union placed second with 18 points.
With three Papermakers advancing in post-season tournaments, the rest of the team continues to practice and help their teammates prepare to be their best. It’s a sign of how connected this team has become on and off the court and in the classroom. The Papermakers tennis team is also up for an academic award because the varsity team has an average grade point of 3.82.
“Our coach always says school comes first, so it’s always our focus,” Doumitt said.
Zhang and Doumitt said their friendship off the court really helps them play better as a team.
“We really know what kind of support we both need to keep our heads up,” Zhang said.
“It’s all about the tennis spirit and keeping each other positive so our mental game stays strong,” Doumitt said.