RICHLAND — There was a celebration. Of course there was a celebration. Sports fan should celebrate perfection.
It just was not the celebration Skyview senior Sammi Hampton had in mind when she woke up Saturday morning, poised to become a four-time state tennis champion.
Hampton won. Again.
But before she could really feel good about it, she had to get over some raw emotions.
Hampton did not have to compete in the championship match of the Class 4A state girls tennis championships. Her opponent, Vivian Glozman of Newport, withdrew due to injury. It was supposed to be the match of the tournament. Hampton is ranked No. 1 in the Pacific Northwest at 18U, while Glozman, a freshman, is No. 1 at 16U.
“It makes me sad. I just don’t feel like I earned it,” Hampton said. “I did, but it’s not the same feeling. It’s not the same adrenaline rush.”
Family, friends, and teammates made the trek to Richland to see her perform. She did win her semifinal match 6-0, 6-0 over Kyra Harames of Central Valley at 8:30 in the morning, but the 2:30 p.m. championship match was cancelled.
The bracket simply noted Sammi Hampton as the champion via injury default.
No matter how she won, she will go down in history as the second Class 4A girls tennis four-time champion, joining Sonja Olejar of Bellarmine Prep, who accomplished the feat from 1989-92.
Hampton went undefeated in her four years of high school tennis, losing just two sets.
Hearing that put a smile on Hampton’s face.
“I never thought of it like that,” she said. “A perfect high school career.”
Still, she had hoped her final win would have happened on the court.
The day baffled Hampton and the Storm. Hampton won her semifinal while Glozman, serving underhand because of a bum shoulder, topped Mountain View’s Amila Gogalija 6-0, 6-1.
Gogalija, by the way, had a story of her own. An alternate, she only made the tournament when the District 4 No. 2 withdrew due to a schedule conflict. Gogalija then won two matches to reach the semifinals, and finished the weekend with a victory in the third-place match, 6-3, 6-4 over Harames.
It should be noted that Hampton understands what it is like to play injured — she won her second state title serving underhand due to an injury.
But instead of going against Hampton at less than 100 percent, Glozman pulled out of the tournament.
“I was in my hotel room. Vivian’s coach called me,” Hampton said, noting it was about 11 a.m. “I heard ‘Vivian’s injured and blah, blah, blah.’
“I said, ‘Does this mean she’s not playing?’
It took her a few minutes to believe it. In fact, Hampton and her coaches tried to convince Glozman’s camp to give it a go. By noon, though, they all knew the decision was final.
“I didn’t really feel anything. I didn’t want to win it this way,” Hampton said.
Hampton also wondered why Glozman did not withdraw during her semifinal, just to make sure there would be a championship match at the biggest high school tournament of the year.
“I had a ton of friends who came to watch me. I feel bad for them. I was actually pissed,” Hampton said.
She wanted to hear her crowd go crazy.
So after coming to terms with the bizarre end to this magical run of high school tennis, the Storm came up with a way to give the crowd a chance to cheer. Hampton and Skyview coach Jay Gowen had an exhibition match at the Columbia Basin Racquet Club.
Her Skyview teammates joined them on the court after that final match.
“I’m going to miss it,” said Hampton, who will be playing for Arizona State next. “That’s why I almost started crying, because I realized it was over. I love my team. I wouldn’t have done it if they weren’t there. They mean a lot to me.”
Hampton’s results were enough for Skyview to tie Camas for second place in the team standings. Union tied for fourth and Mountain View tied for sixth.