The Camas boys tennis team will have two district singles champions on the roster this year.
But the plan isn’t for those players to play singles.
Tommy James and Aiden Brasier are planning on making a potent doubles pairing this season for the Papermakers, who have their eyes on repeating as the 4A state team champions.
“We had a pretty good team last year,” Camas coach Jonathan Burton said. “It’s nice having Tommy back. He’s a good player.”
James won the 4A district singles title as a freshman in 2021 and placed sixth at state.
But James opted not to play with the high school team last season, putting priorities on his club tennis and a rigorous academic load.
But he’s making the time to play for the high school team for his junior year, and part of the allure is getting to play doubles with Brasier.
“Tommy, I think, that was one of the things he was looking forward to coming back this year, the chance to play doubles with his buddy,” Burton said.
James added: “That was part of it. But I also like playing on the high school team. It’s fun and a good community experience.”
And getting to play doubles for the high school team just adds to that, James said.
“It’s going to be super fun,” he said. “I’ve known Aiden since I was super young. We’ve always played tennis together. We’ve played a lot of doubles tournaments together. We’ve had a good relationship, and it’s super fun playing with him.”
Last season, Camas won the 4A state team title with Brasier, the 4A district singles champ in 2022, taking third in singles at state.
James said his schedule is loaded again this year. An average day starts at 6:30 a.m. with some tennis practice before a busy day of school. After homework gets done, there is more tennis in the evening.
“Then it’s go to bed, and repeat,” James said, adding there is no offseason to club tennis.
“It’s completely year-round, he said. “Every day practices, tournaments every other weekend, traveling all over to play in tournaments. It’s crazy, but I like it.”
And that’s why he’s squeezing in the high school team into his schedule.
“This year, I’m just making time for it,” James said. “I think it was something that I definitely wanted to do in my later years of high school, just to get the memories and hopefully win a state title in doubles.”
Burton said Camas has the depth to make up for the fact that he’s taking two state-placing singles players and having them play doubles.
“We have a strong team,” he said. “We have lot of kids on the team. If we need someone to step into a spot on varsity, because someone is not available, we have the players who are able to do that, talented players.”
Taking over at No. 1 singles for the Papermakers is Leo Zhao, who placed eighth at state in singles last season. Also Nathan Chan, who qualified for state in doubles with Austin Shinn, returns in doubles with Kyle Wen.
Burton is hoping that all adds up to another big finish at state.
“We’re hoping to make another run at state,” Burton said. “Perhaps we can get a first-place from (James and Brasier). If we can get some other finishes from other players, maybe we can do that. We’ll see how that plays out.”
Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 360-735-4538 or follow @360TMart on Instagram and X (Twitter).