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Sept. 20, 2021

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All-Region girls tennis: Sammi Hampton

Hampton leaves Skyview as undefeated 4-time state champ

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published:

Jenn Lewis, Sr, Camas

Hannah Gianan, So, Camas

Sydney Wallace, Jr, Union

McKenzie Schreiner, Fr, Union

Akari Baba, Sr, Prairie

Amila Gogalija, Jr, Mtn. View

Esther Kwon, Sr, Camas

It was a few days after Sammi Hampton had won her fourth consecutive state girls tennis championship when she was at the Skyview High School tennis courts, giving some tips to a friend.

A couple courts over, a man and a 6-year-old girl were hitting tennis balls when they spotted Hampton.

“Aren’t you the state champion?” the man asked.

Hampton smiled and said yes.

The man turned to the girl, “Do you want to meet the state champ?”

“It was the cutest thing,” Hampton said. “She talked to me about tennis and how I inspired her.”

Hampton’s career is inspiring: Four years. Four undefeated seasons. Four state championships.

For the last time, Sammi Hampton is The Columbian’s All-Region girls tennis player of the year. Next school year, she will be at Arizona State, hoping to reach the NCAA tournament for the Sun Devils.

Before college consumes her life, Hampton took time to reflect on her perfect high school career and her experience with being part of a team.

It was that desire to be a member of a team that led to Hampton playing at high school. Some of the best junior tennis players who compete in USTA events do not play for their high schools. Hampton always wanted to belong to something bigger than herself, though. She wanted to meet new people and do something for her school.

Playing for Skyview made all that possible, and, she said, the final year was the best.

“We went crazy at all the tournaments,” she said.

Hampton does know what it is like to lose. She has plenty of challengers in USTA events. But in high school, no one came close the past two years. She did lose a set as a freshman and then again as a sophomore — both in the state final. But never lost a match.

She was taken aback when someone called her the G.O.A.T. of Southwest Washington. She had never heard the expression and was puzzled when she was referred to as a goat.

No, not goat. G.O.A.T., as in Greatest Of All Time.

“Oh, that sounds really cool,” she said. “That makes me feel good. That’s cool.”

Jenn Lewis, Sr, Camas

Hannah Gianan, So, Camas

Sydney Wallace, Jr, Union

McKenzie Schreiner, Fr, Union

Akari Baba, Sr, Prairie

Amila Gogalija, Jr, Mtn. View

Esther Kwon, Sr, Camas

Her last state championship was a bit anti-climactic. Her opponent in the finals withdrew due to injury. No matter, Hampton and her Skyview teammates still celebrated along with the coaching staff. Hampton said she is going to miss everyone at Skyview but she will return to say hello whenever she is in town.

The four-peat was important to her because she wanted to do something historic. She is just the second WIAA Class 4A girl to accomplish the feat, and the first from Clark County.

“Down the road I’m going to feel the legacy more,” Hampton said. “I’m going to come back and visit Skyview, and I feel like I’ll be welcomed.”

She will always be welcome at Skyview. By head coach Jay Gowen and his assistants. By all Skyview tennis players, past and present.

And future, too.

Remember, there is a 6-year-old girl out there practicing her skills, hoping to one day become the next Sammi Hampton.

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Columbian High School Sports Reporter
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