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All-Region girls tennis: Faith Grisham, Columbia River

Junior placed third in 3A state singles

By , Columbian sports staff
Published:
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Faith Grisham, 17, a junior at Columbia River, is our All-Region girls tennis player of the year. She placed third at the 2A state tournament. She is pictured at The Columbian on Thursday afternoon, May 31, 2018.
Faith Grisham, 17, a junior at Columbia River, is our All-Region girls tennis player of the year. She placed third at the 2A state tournament. She is pictured at The Columbian on Thursday afternoon, May 31, 2018. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Just being positive has carried Faith Grisham a long way on the tennis court.

Her opponents might not like her approach, but that’s OK. Grisham wants her opponents to be uncomfortable.

“It’s really discouraging to play someone who is always positive, so I kind of use that to intimidate my opponents, and really show them that I’m in it still,” the Columbia River junior said.

Grisham lost just two sets this season — 6-3, 6-1 in the 2A state semifinals to eventual four-time state champ Danya Wallis of North Kitsap — but finished strong to place third at state.

For this exceptional season, Grisham is The Columbian’s All-Region girls tennis player of the year.

Grisham says a major part of tennis is to stay positive while playing.

“It translates to your shots and you can really build off that positive energy,” she said. “I can get mad on the inside, but I mask it.

“It’s easy to let negative emotions build on themselves and then you get in a downward spiral and that’s hard to come back from.”

Though never having played Wallis before, Grisham said she welcomed the challenge against a player who was an overwhelming favorite to win a fourth straight state title.

“I was really excited to have the opportunity to play her and see how my game matched up against hers,” Grisham said.

By watching Wallis play, Grisham said she and her coach Kevin Erickson drew up some tactics going into the state semifinal.

“I thought it’d be fun to try and take her down … it didn’t work so well, but I tried,” Grisham said.

To Grisham’s credit, the four games she won off Wallis was the most Wallis had lost at the state tournament since she was a freshman.

“We had some great rallies. It was a neck-and-neck first set,” Grisham said. “I was disappointed to lose because she didn’t really blow me away. It was only a few key points that didn’t go my way, but I was in it.”

The positive attitude roared back in the third-place match as Grisham made quick work of Marissa Nemeth of Olympic 6-1, 6-0.

“I really wanted third place because it was better than last year,” said Grisham, who placed fourth in 2017. “And I worked hard to get here.”

The work won’t stop as Grisham will be considered one of the favorites in 2019 to win the state singles title. She plays lots of United States Tennis Association tournaments in the offseason and currently has a ranking of 15 in the USTA Pacific Northwest Section for girls 18s age group based on USTA event results.

However, she’s not thinking about her senior tennis season just yet.

“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” she said. “I try not to set goals like that. I want to enjoy the journey.”

And stay positive.

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