Celebrating the return of high school sports

Golf, tennis, cross country bring back competition to Southwest Washington

We watched them tee it up on Monday.

We watched them serve and volley on Tuesday.

And we watched them run on Wednesday.

Athletes have been doing what they do all week.

Camas and Union runners take off at the start of their race Wednesday at Camas High School. Cross country is one of the three sports that started competing this week, in the return of high school sports. Photo by Mike Schultz
Camas and Union runners take off at the start of their race Wednesday at Camas High School. Cross country is one of the three sports that started competing this week, in the return of high school sports. Photo by Mike Schultz

In the return of high school sports, it was cross country, boys tennis, and boys golf leading the way.

The hope is for the region to move into Phase 2 of the Washington’s Roadmap to Recovery, which would allow for even more fall sports to be played this winter. For now, the low-risk sports that started playing this week get the spotlight.

(When, or if, the region moves to Phase 2, we will have more on the two-season approach to high school sports. The winter and spring sports seasons in the Class 4A and 3A GSHLs will be combined into one season, starting in April, for example.)

For now, still in Phase 1, we salute the athletes who have brought sports back into our lives after a year of dealing with COVID-19 and the pandemic.

Thomas Pedigo of Skyview was one of the first athletes to return to sports, competing Monday with his team at Tri-Mountain Golf Course. Photo by Mike Schultz
Thomas Pedigo of Skyview was one of the first athletes to return to sports, competing Monday with his team at Tri-Mountain Golf Course. Photo by Mike Schultz

Top athletes train year round, of course, but they tell us it is so much better to share workouts, or practice, with their peers.

“It definitely boosts my confidence,” said Skyview golfer Allen Kim, referring to the return of practice and then competition. “Having supportive teammates is really helpful. Glad to be back here again with these guys who have amazing skills. Hopefully, we’ll do well.”

Allen Kim of Skyview said he got a confidence boost when he was allowed to practice with his teammates again in time for the return of competition. Photo by Mike Schultz
Allen Kim of Skyview said he got a confidence boost when he was allowed to practice with his teammates again in time for the return of competition. Photo by Mike Schultz

Skyview topped Battle Ground on Monday at Tri-Mountain Golf Course.

On Tuesday, Heritage hosted Prairie in a boys tennis match. It was the first sporting event on campus at Heritage since basketball season — last February.

Ken Pham said he never expected his senior season of tennis to happen, so he is thrilled to be back on the court. Oh, he trained during the long, long offseason, but he did not know if that training would lead to competition.

Now he knows.

Ken Pham of Heritage played a home match Tuesday. It was the first sporting event held on campus at Heritage since last February’s basketball season. Photo by Mike Schultz
Ken Pham of Heritage played a home match Tuesday. It was the first sporting event held on campus at Heritage since last February’s basketball season. Photo by Mike Schultz

“It’s so much more fun than just practicing by myself, not really practicing for anything,” Pham said. “Having a season to come out and play against other teams, it’s really great to be out here.”

Prairie ended up winning the team match against Heritage in a tiebreaker.

On Wednesday, the Camas girls cross country team got past Union by one point to open its season.

Gracie Buzzell, a sophomore, said it was a bit nerve-racking to be back because she has not been in a race in a year-and-a-half. She said she has been motivated by her teammates.

Gracie Buzzell helped Camas win by one point in her team’s first race of the season. Buzzell said it was a bit nerve-racking to be racing for the first time in a year-and-a-half. Photo by Mike Schultz
Gracie Buzzell helped Camas win by one point in her team’s first race of the season. Buzzell said it was a bit nerve-racking to be racing for the first time in a year-and-a-half. Photo by Mike Schultz

Elite runners have always taken pride in their sport, but there is even more to be proud of this season.

“It’s really exciting, and it’s kind of an honor,” Buzzell said of being among the first sports to return to action. “I’m really glad and thankful, because a lot of sports don’t get to come back, like indoor sports. I’m just glad we get to do it.”

There will be no state competition this academic year for high school sports, but as of today, there are district championships scheduled for the three low-risk sports. 

And again, the hope is the region moves into Phase 2 soon, which would allow for football, girls soccer, volleyball, and slowpitch softball to begin competition. 

But let it be known for the record books: The return of high school sports started this week on golf courses, tennis courts, and cross country courses.

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