Sammi Hampton might be the nicest champion in sports.
She is humble. She respects her opponents. She is quick with a smile, and a word of encouragement.
Rest of All-Region team
Akari Baba, so, Prairie: 3A district champion; reached state quarterfinals.
Jelena Vidovic, jr., Union: 4A district runner-up; 4A singles semifinalist for third straight year
Esther Kwon, so., Camas: First-team all-4A GSHL in singles, placed third at state in doubles.
Jen Lewis, so., Camas: First-team all-4A GSHL in singles, placed third at state in doubles.
Kristina Metz, sr., Skyview: Part of 4A GSHL doubles team of year; placed fourth at state.
Macy Ballew, so., Skyview: Teamed with Metz to help Skyview win 4A state team title.
That does not mean she cannot get a little miffed at times. And when she does get fired up on a tennis court, watch out.
Hampton, a sophomore from Skyview, won her second consecutive Class 4A state singles title last month. That made her the easy choice for The Columbian's All-Region girls tennis player of the year.
But before she defended her title, she had to suffer through a dropped first set against Angela Chen of Newport.
And she had to endure a few annoying fans.
Some of Chen's fans were cheering when Hampton made unforced errors, which goes against tennis etiquette.
At first, Hampton acknowledged she was rattled. For a second, she thought about what it would be like to lose the match, calling that "nerve-racking."
Then she heard the crowd again. It fired her up.
"I wanted to prove a point. Not to Angela. I like Angela. But to the crowd," Hampton said. "I wanted to shut them up. I did with that 6-0."
Hampton got the 6-love second set, then took the third set 6-3 for the title.
"I was relieved and so happy at the same time," Hampton said. "Now I can go for my bigger goal, which is to win all four years."
This second title was not tough in terms of competition -- for the second year in a row she lost only one set all season -- but there were obstacles.
"There was tons of pressure," she said of being the defending champion.
Friends and teachers would jokingly tell her she had better win, or else.
"But in a sense, it was serious to me," Hampton said. "I'm actually one of the most competitive people you will meet, even in something as simple as a game of 'Hangman.' "
This game meant a little more to Hampton, though. Especially when those few, but loud, fans turned against her.
That's when the nice champion used a little bit of a mean streak to remain unbeaten in her high school career.
- Won her second consecutive Class 4A state singles title.
- Went undefeated for the second consecutive high school tennis season
- Dropped only one set all season — yes, for the second consecutive year. Interestingly, her only dropped set this year was in the state championship match — the same as last year.
- Leader of the group that won Skyview’s first team title in program history.
More about Sammi
- Favorite movie: “Tangled.” “She’s blonde and has long hair.”
- Hobbies: “I bake everything.”
- Most inspirational people: “I really like both my parents, Rhonda and Kirk.”
- Favorite books: “I like Nancy Drew. I love mysteries. I have comic books of Nancy Drew. That’s kind of nerdy.”
Next year and beyond
Hampton will represent Skyview for the next two years. After that, college. “I don’t know where I want to go, if I want to go to a big school or small school, hot or cold, to play inside or outside. I know nothing.”
“I just think, ‘I don’t want to lose a match this year.’ That’s a good goal to have.”
On her preparation for each season of high school tennis.