Southwest Washington has seen its share of state tennis champions over the years.
After Saturday, the list got even longer as there were three doubles teams, a singles player and two team state titles won by area players.
Camas freshman Hailey Kerker won the 4A singles title at Kennewick, helping the Papermakers to a team title.
Columbia River’s doubles team of senior Grace Rudi and sophomore Lauren Dreves won the 2A title and along with the six Rapids state qualifiers, came home from Seattle with a team title.
Union’s doubles team of Jacob Flentke and James Bertheau won the 4A title at Kennewick.
And in Yakima, Stevenson’s Isabella and Sofia Spencer won the 2B/1B state doubles title.
One backstory from all of this links two very different generations of tennis.
Camas assistant coach Annie Sumpter, who has worked with Kerker all season, was the 1977 state champion for Camas, which also won a team title.
“She just has this drive to compete and do well,” Sumpter said of Kerker, who was undefeated this season. “She doesn’t give up.”
In the final, Kerker beat Matilde Varas of Eastlake 6-1, 6-3 in a match Kerker said was closer than the score indicated.
“It went to deuce almost every time,” she said.
So what got her through?
“I just really wanted to win,” she said.
Columbia River’s 2A girls team title came from Rudi and Dreves’ doubles title — a 6-4, 6-2 win over the Black Hills’ team of Athena and Sienna Moore — plus a sixth-place finish from Emma Lungwitz. But it also came from team support.
“Six players at state and having them there and cheering us on,” Rudi said. “That was best for me.”
Added Dreves: “We have a solid team bond and all pushed for each other.”
The last time Flentke and Bertheau competed in state doubles, Bertheau was representing Mountain View. He finished fourth at 3A in 2019, while Flentke and his partner were third at 4A.
As a top duo in 2022, they were only really tested in the semifinals — a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over Ben Borden and Evan Mueller of Wenatchee.
“That was the hardest team we played,” Flentke said. “Plus it was windy and always changing. We never got comfortable, but squeezed through.”
The final was played indoors with Flentke and Bertheau beating Richland’s team of Isaac and Matt Morrison 6-3, 6-0.
Team Spencer from Stevenson dropped just eight games in their three wins. They capped the tournament with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Jasslyn Ramos and Eliana Rios of Granger for the title.
Other area state placers included:
- Tommy James of Camas, sixth in 4A singles.
- Aiden Brasier of Camas, eighth in 4A singles.
- Elijah Nelson of Prairie, fourth in 3A singles.
- Matt Rudi of Columbia River, fourth in 2A singles.
- Mikey Nester and Ryan Gruber of Ridgefield, fifth in 2A doubles.
- Taryn Kerker and Jace Moriki of Camas, fourth in 4A doubles.
- Ina Ding and Lana Saopraseuth of Union, eighth in 4A doubles.
- Molly Romanchock of Hockinson, fifth in 2A singles.
- Emma Lungwitz of Columbia River, sixth in 2A singles.