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June 28, 2022

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Ari Domniti helps bring Columbia River girls tennis together

Rapids’ senior makes sure to get everyone involved

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:
4 Photos
Columbia River senior Ari Domniti returns a shot against Fort Vancouver's Eva Koutelieris during a match on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
Columbia River senior Ari Domniti returns a shot against Fort Vancouver's Eva Koutelieris during a match on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Ari Domniti loves to stay involved at school.

The senior is an officer in Red Cross and the Key Club at Columbia River High School, and she’s also part of the Green Team and Philosophy Club.

“I also started a new club with another girl on the tennis team,” Domniti said. “It’s called Squiggle Club. It’s this art club and it’s supposed to be like art lessons that improves the student’s mental health. It’s a little break after school to get everyone to relax. It’s part of our senior projects.”

And when she’s on the court with the River girls tennis team, Domniti also likes to get everyone involved.

“On the team Instagram account, we try to get pictures of everyone,” she said. “I run it, and since I’m on varsity, I can’t get pictures of the C-team (C-team often plays at different locations). But I do try to get varsity and JV involved, because we’re a big team and it’s good to get everyone involved.”

It’s something Domniti learned her freshman year when she was part of a River squad that would capture the 2A state team title. Domniti played doubles with senior Truly Rylander that season, and that was a big help.

“She would walk me through everything, but it was scary,” Domniti said. “It was really scary at first, playing with everyone who is older and then playing super long matches, and a bunch of matches in a day. But it also was the most fun I’ve had in tennis.

“I remember my freshman year we played at R.A. Long for districts, and it was so much fun. It was brutal, but we were all in that together, all complaining together. We just formed that bond because we got to play together in those conditions.”

Domniti started playing tennis at age seven because her parents played tennis. But she didn’t really get into the sport until middle school.

“I started getting better, and I liked winning, so I started pushing myself more in tennis,” she said. “And I guess it was freshman year when I started to love it because being part of this team that I get to see every day at school too. It’s just something you can’t experience any other way besides high school tennis. And I really love that.”

That made her sophomore year in 2020 so hard when the high school tennis season was canceled. It returned in a condensed form in 2021, when Domniti earned first-team honors on the 2A Greater St. Helens League all-league team for singles.

This season, Domniti has been splitting the No. 1 singles spot with freshman Emma Lungwitz as the Rapids have raced to a 14-0 record in the 2A GSHL. Grace Rudi and Lauren Dreves are River’s No. 1 doubles team.

“We’ve got some freshmen who are very good,” River coach Kevin Erickson said. “But we’ve also got some seniors who are good captains, who have led the way. It’s a good balance.”

Domniti has been one of those good captains.

“Ari has played all four years,” said Erickson, who teaches English at River. “She’s a great player, great person. I actually have her in class. She’s played for a while, and I think for a lot of these girls, just missing the last two years essentially, they know this is it. For our seniors, they want to make the most of it. She’s all in right now and enjoying it and being a good leader.”

After wrapping up league play this week, River will open the postseason with 2A sub-district tournament May 13-14 in Longview.

To succeed in the postseason, Domniti will tell her younger teammates it’s all about the right attitude.

“I think attitude is the only way you can win in this game,” she said. “You will see your opponent getting weaker than you, so it pushes you. You don’t want to be the person who is weaker. You want to be the person who is always smiling or skipping.

“I do a little hop when I walk over to my side of the court, like I tap my feet together. It’s ridiculous, but mentally it gets me in the mood that this is fun. This is a game. It’s not work.”

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