Winning a state title is never easy, let alone defending a state title.
Sophomore Sammi Hampton of Skyview came back from a set down to defeat Angela Chen of Newport 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 and claim her second consecutive Class 4A girls singles title on Saturday in Richland.
After playing much of the postseason with an injured arm and forced to serve underhand, Hampton went all out for the final.
“She’s been feeling good for most of the tournament,” Skyview coach Jay Gowan said. “Today she went overhand.”
After getting down a set, Gowan said he talked to Hampton about working points better.
“For as good as she is, she still gets tight and goes for a lot more than she should,” Gowan said. “She settled down by not going for as much and took it up another notch.
“She won the next set 6-0 because she got in a groove and didn’t have as many unforced errors.”
Hampton defeated Sabrina Demerath of Inglemoor in the semifinal, 6-0, 7-5. It was rematch of last year’s semifinal, which Hampton also won in straight sets.
Chen reached the final by defeating Union’s Jelena Vidovic 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. Vidovic went on to place sixth for the second year in a row.
And it only got better for Skyview as the Storm claimed the team championship.
The key component came from the doubles team of Macy Ballew and Kristina Metz.
“We knew if we got this, we’d clinch the team title,” Metz said. “If not, it would be iffy. We wanted to win, not just for us, but for the team.”
They did it.
Ballew and Metz beat Erica and Megumi DeMond of Davis 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the fourth-place match. That, plus Hampton’s win, earned enough points for the first team tennis title in Skyview’s history.
“I love teams,” said Hampton. “With high school, everyone’s a family. When your teammates win, you’re just so proud of them.
“We’re all best friends. No drama. No fighting,” Ballew said.
The victory is for all of the Storm, they said, not just the ones who made it to state. The other varsity members, as well as the dozens in the program, keep the competition steady in practice.
“Without them, we wouldn’t be here,” Ballew said.
“They’re the ones who help us get better,” Metz said, noting that many of them made the trip to Richland. “They drove four hours to come watch us.”
Yes, that’s a team.
“The last two years, we got second. Now my senior year, we go out with a bang,” Metz said. “A first for the team, and we made the coaches happy.”
In other state tennis highlights:
• Camas’ Esther Kwon and Jen Lewis placed third in 4A doubles with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Monica Kwong and Cristina Borsan of Lynnwood.
• Mountain View’s Trevor Jones and Colton Reed placed third in 3A boys doubles in Kennewick with a 1-6, 7-6 (4), 6-0 victory over Keet Curtis and Ben Devries of Bainbridge.
• Columbia River’s Dominik Gorecki placed eighth in 3A boys singles.
• Hockinson’s Michelle Chiou placed fifth in 2A singles at Seattle, defeating Pauline Mosch of Sedro-Woolley 6-0, 6-2.
Paul Valencia contributed to this report from Richland.