Camas slowpitch focused on ‘fun’

New coaches lead Papermakers’ girls swim team; new leaders emerge for Washougal boys golf squad

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Camas freshman outfielder Kalli True throws a ball into the infield during a Sept. 16 game against Mountain View. (Photos by Doug Flanagan/Post-Record)

The Camas High School slowpitch softball team is maintaining a positive outlook despite a slow start to its 2021 season.

“We have a great group of girls with awesome attitudes and positivity,” Papermakers coach Mandy Cervantes said. “(We want) to learn and absorb as much of the game as possible, and of course have a great time building relationships and having fun. We are excited to see our team grow and develop throughout the season.”

Camas, which has a “mix between young and old, and experienced vs. inexperienced (players),” according to Cervantes, is led by seniors Maggie Lyons and Kallie Wengler and junior Amelia Marcum.

“Maggie, who also plays fastpitch, brings a lot of experience and positivity to the team,” Cervantes said. “Kallie hasn’t played softball since middle school, but has proven in preseason practice and the first couple games that she has a lot to contribute offensively. And Amelia is a great team leader, gives 150-percent effort all the time, and will hopefully do some great things for the Papermakers this year.”

Camas lost its first four games of the season, but defeated Mountain View 5-4 in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 16, then beat Evergreen 13-7 on Sept. 17.

Camas girls swimming

The Camas girls swimming team has two new leaders after losing longtime coach Mike Bemis to retirement.

Westley Mejias coached at the college level in Puerto Rico and was recently named as the new leader of the Portland Aquatic Club. Scott Kohlmeier is the head coach of the Lacamas Warriors club team and formerly coached at North Medford (Oregon) High School.

“I really wasn’t sure what to expect from the team, but I can say that I’m pretty impressed with the work ethic of the girls and the attendance in practices,” Mejias said. “They mean business and they want to do well. If there’s something that we’re going to do differently than other teams, it’s going to be that our girls are hopefully going to be better mentally and prepared to face any challenge.”

Sophia Wade, Lila McGeachy and Campbell Deringer led the Papermakers during a jamboree on Sept. 7 — Wade won the 75-yard freestyle, McGeachy won the 300-yard freestyle, Deringer won the 50-yard breaststroke and the trio combined efforts to win the 300-yard free relay.

Deringer finished third in the individual points standings at a sprint pentathlon at Mark Morris High School on Sept. 18 after winning the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke. McGeachy won the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle, and Wade won the 100 freestyle.

“We are going to have a solid season,” Mejias said. “I don’t want to say how we’re going to end up because I don’t know the other schools yet, but we’re going to get better. I can foresee a couple of swimmers (qualifying) for state, so that’s going to be exciting to see.”

Washougal boys golf

The Washougal High School boys golf team lost its two best players, Oliver Evers and Chase Baldwin, from last season, but returns a group of experienced upperclassmen and talented youngsters that intrigues coach Greg Lewis.

“I have a good group of kids. We lost Ollie and Chase, our two main guys, but we have a bunch of kids who are stepping up, and we’re kind of waiting to see who’s going to take the reins and put up some good scores,” he said. “We’re still waiting to see who that’s going to be, but we’ve got a few kids that I expect some good things from.”

Lewis believes that sophomore Keegan Payne, the only other Panthers golfer besides Evers and Baldwin to advance to the second day of the 2A District 1 tournament earlier this year, is capable of qualifying for the 2A state tournament, “if not this year, certainly in the next couple of years.”

He’s joined in the varsity lineup by fellow sophomore Brayden Kassel and seniors Carson Chase and Colby Mings. Senior Cole Vaughan will “be fighting for a varsity spot,” along with senior Ryan Tuite, who played football last spring instead of golf, and freshman Owen Minnis.

Kassel shot a 44 to lead the Panthers in their season-opening match against Hockinson on Sept. 7; Mings led Washougal (0-4) with a 41 on Sept. 9 vs. Woodland and a 44 against Union on Sept. 14; and Payne shot a season-best 42 against Columbia River on Sept. 16.

“I think a couple of them have a pretty good chance of making it to state if they play how they’re capable of (playing),” Lewis said. “They’ll have to play well, but I think it’s reasonable for them to do it. We have six or seven kids who are in the mix, and a few of them have kind of separated themselves. I’m excited for what we’ve got.”