Washougal teammates tower over competition

Multi-sport athletes Boylan and Bea team up for Panthers

WASHOUGAL — They are both used to standing tall near a net in the fall

One is accustomed to trying to get a ball through a net in the winter.

When they combine their talents in the spring, it is the players on the other side of a net who are intimidated.

Washougal multi-sport athletes Rebecca Boylan and Beyonce Bea are just a couple of 6-footers towering over opponents on the tennis court, heading to the Class 2A girls state tournament as the District 4 doubles champions.

Washougal tennis players Rebecca Boylan (left) and Beyonce Bea won the Class 2A district doubles title last week and are heading to the state tournament in Seattle later this week. Photo by Paul Valencia
Washougal tennis players Rebecca Boylan (left) and Beyonce Bea won the Class 2A district doubles title last week and are heading to the state tournament in Seattle later this week. Photo by Paul Valencia

The state tournament begins Friday at the Nordstrom Tennis Center in Seattle. It is their first appearance at state, in this, their third year in the sport.


Washington Interscholastic Activities Association
State boys and girls tennis championships

Friday and Saturday

Class 4A is in Richland; Class 3A is in Kennewick; Class 2A is in Seattle; Class 1A is in Yakima.

Clark County entries:

Class 4A boys
Singles: Gunnar Harlan, Battle Ground; and Andrew Kabacy, Skyview
Doubles: Chris Sheppert/Joey Gaylor, Skyview; and Alex Calpagiu/Quinn Lamey, Union

Class 4A girls
Singles: Sam Merrill, Camas
Doubles: Nicole Knudston/Anna Foster, Union; and Karly Metz/Anna Lu, Skyview

Class 3A boys
Doubles: Josh Kim/Lu Abuizza, Mountain View; and Edmund Hsu/Vincent Hsu, Mountain View

Class 3A girls
Singles: Shreya Batra, Mountain View; Avery Honaker, Hudson’s Bay

Class 2A boys
Singles: Spencer Cultice, Ridgefield

Class 2A girls
Singles: Faith Grisham, Columbia River
Doubles: Rebecca Boylan, Beyonce Bea, Washougal


They missed out at going to state last year, falling in the third-place match at the district tournament. That same W.F. West team beat Boylan and Bea at district in 2016, as well.

Last week, though, Boylan and Bea got some revenge, topping the Bearcats’ duo in the district championship match 7-6, 6-4.

“I don’t think we’ve ever played so well in our tennis careers,” Boylan said.

It is not like they have long tennis careers, though.

Boylan, a senior, started playing the game when she was a sophomore. Bea, a junior, picked up tennis as a freshman. Close friends, they have been together on the court ever since.

“I wanted to try some new things,” said Boylan, who also is teammates with Bea on the volleyball team. “I started playing tennis on a whim. It sounded fun. I never thought I’d be any good at it.”

Bea is known throughout the county — heck, throughout the Northwest — for her basketball abilities. She has a dozen or so scholarship offers in that sport. Also a volleyball player, Bea said she wanted something to do in the spring for the Panthers.

“I wanted to be a three-sport athlete,” she said.

Neither one knew it at the time, but that was the start of something special. Washougal tennis coach Angela Watts said she believes the Boylan/Bea team is the first to win a girls tennis district title in school history.

Both athletes say their other sports have helped them in this sport. They are grateful to the philosophy of Washougal athletics, which encourage multi-sport athletes.

“All three take the same mental toughness,” Bea said of her sports. “The wanting to win, the competition comes in all three. Just have to train yourself to push hard.”

“It helps because you already know how to be an athlete,” Boylan said of coming into a new sport with the same philosophy. “You have to be aggressive.”

That is easy for Boylan. She loves the power associated with tennis, maybe a bit more than the finesse part of the game.

“I like to be able to hit it really hard. I’m naturally an aggressive person,” she said as Bea laughed. “When I have the opportunity to hit it hard, that’s just really fun for me.”

 

Senior Rebecca Boylan, left, and junior Beyonce Bea started playing tennis in 2016. Doubles partners from the beginning, they are now district champions and heading to state for the first time. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Boylan
Senior Rebecca Boylan, left, and junior Beyonce Bea started playing tennis in 2016. Doubles partners from the beginning, they are now district champions and heading to state for the first time. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Boylan

 

Bea said tennis is a break from the daily grind of her main sport.

“I just think it’s one of the really enjoyable sports that is a little less stressful at times than other sports,” she said, adding that it is a game one can play for a lifetime with friends and family.

Still, winning is serious business. Boylan and Bea share a disgust with losing.

“We both always want to win. We’re always pushing each other to be better,” Boylan said. “We’re always wanting to be our best.”

As doubles partners, there are times when one thinks the other “should have” got that ball or vice versa. They do give each other looks or offer words of advice. But those things never get in the way of their respect for one another.

“We’ve been playing together for three years and we’re really good friends on and off the court,” Boylan said. “If we tell each other something, we’re not going to get upset or offended. We’re always giving each other a hard time.”

“We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses,” Bea said. “It’s easy to tell the other person what they need to fix.”

There are more good times than tough times, tough, with these two. If Boylan falls on the court, her partner will be right there — to laugh at her. Some funny things are painful, too.

“I hit her with my serve a couple times,” Bea said.

“She used to hit me a lot,” Boylan corrected. “She hits hard. It really hurts.”

These days, they are making it a pain on opponents. It took some time, though. Their first district together, they won the pigtail match to make it to the tourney, then lost to the W.F. West squad. Last year, the Boylan/Bea team was the top seed from the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League but lost in the third-place match, to the same team, and missed a trip to state.

“That was really disappointing,” Boylan said.

Bea said, in retrospect, those losses helped.

“District is a different type of competition. It showed us what we needed to do,” Bea said. “It was a learning experience, but a really hard one.”

They learned. They prepared. They conquered.

While Bea will always be known more for her basketball skills, she said tennis is the priority for these three months in the spring. If there is a scheduling conflict, she sticks with tennis. She said she owes that to Boylan, a senior.

Boylan, who is in the delayed entry program to join the United States Air Force, appreciates that commitment.

“It’s the first time in my high school career I’ve gone to state,” she said. “This is my last chance. This was the big goal for me.”

This week, they will be on the court for the last time as high school teammates. Win or lose, that means quite a lot to them.

“This was the big goal,” Boylan said. “I’m really excited to represent Washougal High School (at state). We hope to make the whole town proud.”

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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