Columbia High's girls tennis team and its top-seeded singles player captured Southwest District championships last Friday at the Class 1A tournament in Vancouver -- both for the first time.
"According to the school, it's the first time tennis has won a trophy for the trophy case," Bruins Coach Rae Meaney said.
For her part, senior Johanna Zimbelman added the individual title of district champion to her portfolio, defeating Stevenson sophomore Aascot Holt in the final -- a victory that helped the Bruins win the championship with 8 points. (Teams received 1 point for each match won.)
In doubles, seniors Amanda Rieper and Adrienne Charap qualified for their first state tournament with a runner-up finish to Tenino's Maggie Nelson and Candace Bradley.
All told, five of Columbia's six district competitors reached the semifinals of the tourney as the Bruins won eight of 11 matches on the way to procuring the team title.
Winning the district team trophy was one of the goals the Bruins set for themselves at the start of the season, their coach noted. Last year, Columbia finished second to Tenino -- by 3 points -- in the final point tally.
This time around at the Vancouver Tennis Center, though, the matchups favored the Bruins, who ended the day with a 4-point margin of victory over both Stevenson and Montesano.
Zimbelman qualified for her second state tournament by winning all four of her singles matches. She opened with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Castle Rock junior Ainsley Uhlenkott.
In the second round, however, Zimbelman had to work for the win over Perkins. She took the first set, 6-4, but lost the second, 6-4, before dispatching her Monte opponent, 6-2.
CHS senior Robin Swanhuyser saw her first district tournament come to an end with a 6-3, 6-0 second-round loss to Hillary Lawrence of Montesano. The defeat followed a strong opening-round effort by Swanhuyser, who swept Jaymi Thompson of Castle Rock, 6-1, 6-0.
On the doubles courts, Rieper and Charap began their day with 6-1, 6-2 victories over Stevenson juniors Hannah Delude and Jimie Koch.
The win earned the White Salmon pair a semifinal matchup against Monte's Michelle Leach and Ashton Ammann. Charap and Rieper prevailed in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the final against Nelson and Bradley of Tenino.
CHS's No. 1 doubles team won the first set, 6-2, but couldn't sustain the momentum as the girls from Tenino took the next two sets, 6-4, 6-4.
In the consolation final, CHS seniors Caroline and Lauren Kelly claimed the district's doubles alternate position by vanquishing Monte's Leach and Ammann in two hard-fought sets, 7-5, 8-6.
The WIAA's Class 1A girls tournament gets under way tomorrow morning at the Yakima Tennis Center.
Zimbelman will play her first singles match (against an undetermined opponent) in the double-elimination tourney starting at 9 a.m. Win or lose, she will play again at 12:30 p.m.
In the first round of doubles, Charap and Rieper will oppose Ashley Trapp and Jill Nicholson of Highland starting at 10:45 a.m. Their second-round match will begin at 2:15 p.m.
The two-day tournament will run through Saturday afternoon, with all medal-round matches (for 1st through 6th places) scheduled to start at 1 o'clock.