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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region tennis: Hailey Kerker and Aiden Brasier, Camas

Papermaker sophomores key to winner state team titles for boys and girls

By Jeff Klein, Columbian sports staff
Published: June 8, 2023, 9:01pm

The defending state tennis champion said she felt like the underdog going into the championship match.

That only helped to fuel the fire to win.

Camas sophomore Hailey Kerker got some measure of revenge and a second consecutive 4A state singles title with a three-set victory over an opponent who had just beaten her a week prior.

“I think I always do better as the underdog,” Kerker said of her title match against Lucia Moravek of Bellarmine. “And since I lost last, that gave me more motivation because I knew I didn’t want to feel like that again … and lose again.”

Kerker didn’t lose again. In fact, her 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win helped the Papermakers to a second straight team title.

Meanwhile, on another tennis court in Kennewick, Camas sophomore Aiden Brasier had his momentum stopped by the eventual state champion but still needed to win his last match for the team.

Brasier did just that, finishing in third place in 4A singles and gaining something more.

“I knew if I won the last match, we would win the (state team) title,” he said. “I was a lot more intense, moving my feet well and most of the team was there, so that pumped me up.”

For their individual accomplishments and helping the Papermakers to a rare 4A state team title double, Kerker and Brasier are The Columbian’s girls and boys All-Region tennis players of the year.

Since at least 2007, no boys and girls teams at Class 4A have won state titles in the same year.

Since 2001, no 4A girls team champion had both the singles and doubles champions. That is, until now with Camas sophomore Taryn Kerker and junior Fiona Zou winning the doubles title.

That would make it four state titles for one school — Camas — all at the same tournament.

“We knew we had a chance again because we had more girls this year and are a strong team,” Hailey Kerker said of the Papermakers qualifying two singles players and three doubles teams to state. “Definitely after the first day we knew we were in position to be in it.”

Brasier returned to action in the spring after going undefeated in the fall season. He finished in October by winning district and bi-district titles.

Brasier coasted through his first two state matches, dropping just five games. But then he ran into a buzzsaw named Ben Lee from Jackson, a player he lost to last year at state to finish eighth. Lee never dropped a set on his way to the 2023 4A title.

“It was challenging,” Brasier said of getting up for the third-place match. “I just tried to pump myself up and stay positive.”

That did the trick as Brasier beat Tate Thatcher of Lewis & Clark 6-2, 6-3 in the third-place match to give the Papermakers a four-point win in the team race.

Kerker also breezed through her first two matches at state, dropping just one game. In the semifinal against Anya Moravek, Kerker said she had to work harder for points before prevailing 6-3, 6-3 to set up the rematch with Lucia Moravek.

“In that first set, I was nervous but then got into a rhythm hitting through the ball more,” Kerker said.

It’s no wonder the Papermakers are seeing this kinds of success.

“Winning the boys and girls state titles in the same year made this a dream year,” Camas coach Jonathan Burton said. “Our success this year is due to talent and hard work. Both Aiden and Hailey lead by example.”

Rest of the All-Region girls tennis team

Emma Lungwitz, Columbia River: Sophomore placed fourth at 2A state and won sub-district and district singles titles.

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Elsa Bice, Prairie: Freshman qualified for 3A state by placing fifth at 3A bi-district tournament after winning the 3A district title.

Taryn Kerker & Fiona Zou, Camas: The sophomore/junior doubles team won the 4A state title on top of district and bi-district titles.

Lauren Dreves & Sydney Dreves, Columbia River:  The junior/sophomore sister tandem capped an undefeated season by winning the 2A state doubles championship.

Sophia Rundle & Lena Trieu, Camas: The junior/senior pair were second at the 4A district and bi-district tournaments and placed sixth at state.

Rest of the All-Region boys tennis team

Leo Zhao, Camas: The freshman was first-team all-4A GSHL, finished runner-up at 4A district and placed eighth at his first 4A state tournament.

Kevin Kim, Mountain View: The senior won the 3A district singles title, and placed fourth at bi-district to qualify for state.

Rowan Thawani & Alex Lin, Union: The juniors won the 4A district title, were third at bi-district and capped the season by placing eighth at 4A state.

Nathan Chen & Austin Shin, Camas:  The junior/senior team reached the 4A state quarterfinals in the spring after finishing as district runner-up and placing fourth at bi-district in the fall.

Aiden McCoy & Cavin Holden, R.A. Long: The seniors were all-league picks as singles players, but were 2A district and bi-district champions in doubles and reached the state quarterfinals.