Bea, Wilson head to state tennis tourney

Washougal's Emily Johnson hits a return shot during the district tournament. Johnson and her doubles partner Elise Moore were one win away from a state tournament trip, falling to teammates Beyonce Bea and Paige Wilson in their last match.

Head Washougal tennis coach Angela Watts consults with Emily Johnson (center) and Elise Moore (right).

Washougal senior Beyonce Bea goes airborne, using two hands for a winning point at the net during the 2A district tournament on May 16.

Washougal seniors Beyonce Bea and Paige Wilson have played volleyball, basketball and tennis together throughout their high school careers, and their chemistry helped them punch a ticket to the 2A state tennis tournament with a third-place finish in doubles at a 2A district tournament at the Vancouver Tennis Center on May 16-17.

The duo started playing as a doubles team a few months ago and beat several teams that compete in tennis throughout the year.

“Beyonce and I only play tennis during the season, so it was really cool to qualify for state alongside these intense competitors,” Wilson said.

Bea said she had hoped they’d win the district tournament, but their losses came at the hands of some of the best teams in the state, and at the state tournament, to be held Friday and Saturday at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle, they might get a chance to match up against those same players again.

“We were able to watch and play against some doubles teams that have different strategies and playing styles than we are used to playing against,” Bea said. “Now we can really work hard this week during practice to start implementing some of those same strategies and also start preparing for how to combat them.”

As a team, Washougal finished second, with Columbia River winning the district championship.

Bea and Wilson had to win twice Friday to earn a trip to the state tournament. They beat Panthers teammates Emily Johnson and Elise Moore 6-1, 6-1, a strong comeback for Wilson and Bea, who had not lost a match this season until the district tournament.

“It was very humbling to play people that could beat us, and the strategies from teams up north were new to us, so I think it really prepared us for state,” said Wilson, who added that Bea helped motivate her through some tough situations throughout the district tournament.

“She (Bea) has such a fire inside of her when it comes to competition,” Wilson said. “She always makes an effort to keep my head up when we’re in a slump, and we always end up in fits of laughter at every practice or match.”

Bea and Wilson share much more than just a passion for tennis. Both will graduate in a few weeks and both are class valedictorians.

“Paige and I have become really good friends over the past couple of years,” Bea said. “Even though we were not always doubles partners, we have always been super close, so it wasn’t much of an adjustment when we got paired up together this year.

Now these two stellar students and students of the game will study video of the best doubles teams in the state, learning tendencies to come up with a plan to beat them.

“We complement each other well,” Bea said.