Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Aug. 11, 2020

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All-Region boys tennis: Akash Prasad, Camas

Breakout victory helps Papermakers junior reach state

By , Columbian sports staff
Published:
3 Photos
Camas junior Akash Prasad hasn’t been able to get on a tennis court in several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he remains hopeful he will improve his game and be ready again for a big senior season in the fall.
Camas junior Akash Prasad hasn’t been able to get on a tennis court in several months during the COVID-19 pandemic, but he remains hopeful he will improve his game and be ready again for a big senior season in the fall. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

One win was all it took for Camas junior Akash Prasad to get over the hump.

During their first meeting of the fall season, Prasad lost to Skyview senior Jonathan Hutley 6-2, 6-0.

Then, on the last day of the regular season, Prasad turned things around.

“I had never beaten him before, but for some reason, I got him on an off-day and pulled through,” Prasad recalled of his 6-3, 6-4 victory over the defending 4A district champion.

Prasad carried his win all the way to the 4A district title, the 4A Greater St. Helens player of the year honor, an eventual state tournament berth, and The Columbian’s All-Region boys tennis player of the year.

Even by his own admission, the 2019 fall campaign wasn’t a walk in the park.

“It was a rough regular season,” he said. “I didn’t win every match, but in the postseason playing indoors helped me. I got the big wins when I needed them.”

He beat Hutley again in the district semifinal, this time 6-2, 6-4, and then topped teammate Shiva Narayanan for the district title.

Prasad went on to place fifth at the bi-district tournament to earn his first state berth.

However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there would be no state tournament as all spring events were canceled.

“Feel I missed out on some experiences, but I’m confident I can make it back to state,” Prasad said.

He added that he’ll be working on his fitness and some tennis-specific skills in the meantime.

His team can help with that as well. The Papermakers are a diverse group and that helps them on and off the court.

“We are just a group of guys … it doesn’t matter where we are from,” Prasad said. “We will welcome you. Everyone is welcome.”

He said everyone’s different points-of-view helps create an environment of different ways to think and play. So when it might be tough on the tennis court, knowing another teammate’s approach just might be the key.

“Thinking outside the box will help propel you to another style of play,” he said.

Prasad says his game is more conducive to the indoor courts because that is what he plays on most.

“Tennis is a year-round sport for me,” he said. “I’m training indoors. I haven’t been working on tennis (recently) because of the situation we are in. I hope to get on the courts soon.”

He’ll be playing in a new age group (U18s) when USTA tournaments are able to start back up.

“Spring is main time to practice and I missed that,” he said. “Not much you can do about that. Just look forward.”

Rest of the All-Region team

SINGLES

Elijah Nelson, so, Prairie: 3A Greater St. Helens League player of the year, repeat 3A district champion, 3rd at 3A bi-district, returning state qualifier.

Wilson Keller, sr, Columbia River: 2A sub-district champion, 2A district champion, returning state qualifier. Key player on undefeated 2A GSHL regular-season champion squad.

Kevin Kim, fr, Mountain View: Finished 3rd at 3A district, then pulled off a stunner by winning the 3A bi-district tournament to qualify for state.

DOUBLES

Kyle Mosier, sr, and Jacob Flentke, so, Union: 4A GHSL doubles team of the year, repeated as 4A district and 4A bi-district champions for return trip to state.

Vincent Hsu, jr, and James Bertheau, so, Mountain View: 3A GSHL doubles team of the year, repeated as 3A district and 3A bi-district champions for return trip to state.

Gabe Slind, sr, and Ben Haukaas, jr, Mark Morris: Slind was 2A GSHL overall player of year, while Haukaas was 2A GSHL singles player of the year. Defending state doubles champs won the 2A sub & district titles for a return trip to state.

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Note to readers: The Columbian decided to honor the top players in boys golf and boys tennis because the bulk of their seasons were played in the fall, providing a basis from which to make a selection. The boys golf All-Region selections were announced Friday, June 12. Other sports that hold state championships in the spring had little or no spring season, so there will not be All-Region selections made in those sports.

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