For Hannah Gianan, reaching the state tennis championship match would seem like old hat.
After all, the Camas senior had won Class 4A state doubles titles her first two years, then placed second in the singles tournament last year.
But don’t think for a minute that Gianan took this year’s appearance in the state championship match for granted.
And don’t think for a second that she’s too disappointed about placing second again.
A tendon injury forced Gianan to miss most of this spring’s regular season.
Through the district, regional and state tournaments, she was still finding her stroke after barely picking up a racket for a two-month stretch.
Yet there was Gianan in another state title match, which followed a district championship and a fifth-place finish at regionals.
Chalk it up to grit, with a dash of gratitude.
“All the things I went through really made it that much more special,” Gianan said. “I accomplished so much more and overcame so much more than I had in the past.”
For her accomplishments, Gianan is The Columbian’s All-Region girls tennis player of the year for a second time. She will continue her tennis career at Seattle University.
Gianan first noticed discomfort in her left wrist and forearm last October. By mid-winter, she was sidelined with a ruptured ligament in her wrist and an inflamed tendon that ran up her forearm.
For the first time in years, Gianan was forced to take a break from competition.
“I would go to practice and just be coaching,” she said. “I couldn’t pick up a racket, which was really difficult for me.”
She played one doubles match and three singles matches near the end of the high school season. By the district tournament in mid-May, she still didn’t fully trust that her shots would go where she planned.
“I felt like I had never picked up a tennis racket before,” she said. “Trusting my body to get back to how it used to be was mentally tough.”
But she won that tournament. The next weekend, she finished fifth in at regional tournament in Kent to secure her fourth state berth.
At state on the final weekend of May, she rolled through her first three matches without losing a set.
In the state championship match, Gianan lost 6-2, 6-0 to Sumner’s Jade Lancaster, a sophomore who had won the 3A state title the previous year.
But Gianan wasn’t angry. She had shown grit. She was feeling gratitude.
“I could have not gone to districts, not gone to regionals and not gone to state at all,” she said. “Playing in all three of those tournaments was a blessing because not playing was really an option.”