Martinez: Freshmen tennis players take center stage

Tim Martinez: High school sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

Published:

 

Last year, as freshmen, Battle Ground’s Kylee Breimon and Union’s Jelena Vidovic took Class 4A Greater St. Helens League tennis by storm.

Both players raced through the regular season then met for the district championship, with Breimon taking the crown. They met again in the bi-district champions, and Breimon won again.

At state, Breimon captured fifth place, while Vidovic placed sixth.

Returning for their sophomore seasons, the stage was set for a long rivalry in girls tennis in Clark County.

Well, the rivalry will continue today at the 4A district tournament at the Vancouver Tennis Center. But Breimon and Vidovic won’t be playing in the district final, they’ll be playing to get to the district final.

That’s because another freshman has hit the scene in the 4A GSHL this season, Skyview’s Sammi Hampton.

Hampton earned the No. 1 seed in the district tournament, sending Breimon and Vidovic on a crash course for a semifinal matchup as the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds.

Hampton will face teammate Rayna Mathis in the other district semifinal beginning at 8 a.m. today at VTC.

The good news is that the top three singles players will advance to the bi-district tournament, so there’s a chance that Hampton, Breimon and Vidovic could all advance — provided an upset-minded player from the consolation bracket doesn’t break up those plans.

There was a freshman theme to the 3A district tournament, as well. Freshman Esther Kwon beat Camas teammate and fellow freshman Jen Lewis for the singles title. In the consolation final, Columbia River freshman Jayne Piboonvaranggoon beat Kelso freshman Lisa Karnofski.

The 4A and 3A district tournament, which both conclude today, got an earlier start this season because of new bi-district tournament schedule.

Instead of playing the tournament over three or four days in the same week, this year’s bi-district tournament will be held over two Saturdays on consecutive weekends.

It’s a good plan if you want to limit the amount of school players might miss.

It’s not such a good plan if you live in Clark County and have to make the two-hour drive to Tacoma on consecutive weekends.

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This week is full of district championships for 4A and 3A athletes.

It starts today with the opening of the two-day 4A and 3A girls district golf tournaments at Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland. Columbia River’s Chloe Bartek is the heavy favorite to win the 3A title, while the 4A meet has several contenders.

The 4A and 3A district track and field meets will be held Wednesday and Thursday at McKenzie Stadium.

And the 3A district softball tournament will be held Thursday and Friday in Kelso.

The 4A and 3A bi-district baseball tournaments will be held this week, along with the 2A and 1A district tournaments. All tournaments are scheduled to be completed by Saturday, weather permitting — although the forecast looks pretty good this week.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at (360) 735-4538 or e-mail at tim.martinez@columbian.com