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Class 1a Girls Tennis

CHS junior nets first state tourney berth in singles

Columbia High junior Johanna Zimbelman made some CHS girls tennis history last Friday at the SWW District's Class 1A Tournament in Vancouver.

By placing second in singles play, Zimbelman became the first White Salmon player to qualify for a state tennis tournament since 1997.

Zimbelman takes a 12-3 record into her first state match on Friday at the Yakima Tennis Club. Her opponent in the first round will be Andrea Berry of Connell.

At district, Zimbelman, the No. 2 seed in singles play, faced top-seeded Cheree Lucero of Tenino in the championship match. During the regular season, the two opponents split their SWW 1A League matches.

But on Friday, Lucero claimed victory in the rubber match of their season series, winning 6-1, 6-1.

Lucero's win helped Tenino capture the district's team title with 8 points. Columbia High, which was tied with Tenino for the team points lead before the start of semifinal action, finished second with 5 points, and Stevenson was third with 4 points.

The Columbia High girls' overall performance earned praise from first-year Bruins Coach Rae Meaney.

"In the semifinals, I looked out at the four courts and girls from Columbia High were playing on three of them," she said. "No other school had that many kids (4) in the semis."

Zimbelman secured a state berth by defeating Stevenson senior Diva Napierala, 6-3, 6-2, in a closer-than-the-scores-indicate semifinal. On the opposite side of the bracket, Lucero eliminated Columbia junior Noe Roche from state tournament contention, 6-2, 6-0.

In doubles play, CHS seniors Brooke and Mara Hathaway moved into the semifinal round by rolling over Montesano's Katie Schuh and Megan Rosenbach, 6-1, 6-0.

The Hathaways faced tougher competition in their semifinal round, however: Stevenson seniors Katie Dudley and Courtney Banks.

After rallying from a 6-3 deficit to win the first set, 7-5, the CHS pair dropped the next two sets, 6-0, 6-3.

The victory earned Banks and Dudley a berth in this weekend's state tournament. (They open state play Friday against Ashley Trapp and Jill Nicholson of Highland.)

Columbia High began the district tournament with a string of victories, starting with a 6-0, 6-2 victory by junior doubles partners Amanda Rieper and Adrienne Charap over Castle Rock's Jaymi Thompson and Natasha Montain.

The CHS run continued with wins by the Hathaways, Roche (6-1, 6-0 over Stevenson sophomore Jimie Koch) and Zimbelman (6-2, 6-1 over senior Charisse Lewis of Tenino).

Top seeds Alex Wuerth and Maggie Nelson of Tenino ousted Rieper and Charap from the single-elimination tournament, however, winning their second-round match, 6-2, 6-1.

In consolation play, Napierala of Stevenson claimed the district's singles alternate position with an 8-4 pro set victory over Roche.

The doubles alternate position went to Montesano's Alyssa Harwick and Christa Perkins. They defeated the Hathaways in a pro set.

All in all, Meaney gave the Columbia High team high marks for their efforts and their sportsmanship.

"I was very proud of how well they played and how they represented the school," Meaney said of the six CHS players who competed at district. "I feel lucky to be their coach."

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