HS Tennis: Columbia River senior passionate about positivity

Faith Grisham plays the game with the right frame of mind

VANCOUVER — It just keeps getting better for Faith Grisham.

Every year, she has improved her placing at the state tennis tournament, representing the Columbia River Chieftains.

Faith Grisham of Columbia River says she not only loves playing tennis, she loves practice, too. A senior, she is among the favorites to win a state title this spring. Photo by Mike Schultz
Faith Grisham of Columbia River says she not only loves playing tennis, she loves practice, too. A senior, she is among the favorites to win a state title this spring. Photo by Mike Schultz

Now a senior, she knows she has an opportunity to go out on top.

It’s there, that chance. Grisham wants it, too. She just is not consumed by a state title.

And that just might be the key to her success.

“I really don’t put the pressure on myself. I’m a super competitive person. I know I’ll try my best in every single match I compete in. For me, it’s about trusting the process, working hard every day, and giving it my all in every match instead of just focusing on the outcome.”

Usually, her outcomes are positive.

Faith Grisham of Columbia River says she always has a smile on her face, even in the heat of competition. She said tennis is supposed to be fun, and she always has a positive attitude on the court. Photo by Mike Schultz
Faith Grisham of Columbia River says she always has a smile on her face, even in the heat of competition. She said tennis is supposed to be fun, and she always has a positive attitude on the court. Photo by Mike Schultz

A year ago, she reached the state semifinals only to lose to the eventual four-time state champion. Grisham had an early lead in that match, too.

“At that point, I might have let my nerves get to me, and she definitely picked it up,” Grisham said. “I was there, though. That was really encouraging. Our points were phenomenal. The quality of tennis was really good.”

That sounds like Faith Grisham right there. Even in defeat, she can find the positive. She can enjoy the journey. She is known to always smile, even in the middle of matches.

“I try to have a positive attitude out there because tennis is supposed to be fun,” she said. “I feel some people don’t have fun with it.”

For the most part, she said, those in high school tennis have the right approach to the game. In the USTA junior tournaments, though, Grisham has witnessed so many of her peers display negative emotions.

“I try to stand out and have a more positive attitude and act like I want to be there,” Grisham said. “I feel people treat it like a job. I look forward to going to practice and competing. It’s my passion.”

Grisham picked up to the sport when she was 11. She has been at it ever since.

“I don’t know what life’s like without it,” she said. “If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t play it every day.”

She also enjoys being part of the high school team.

“It’s something bigger than yourself,” she said, adding that she likes to be a “light” in the community and hopes to encourage young athletes to play tennis.

Her playing days will continue beyond high school. She has signed with NCAA Division II program Biola University in southern California.

“It will be good to be on the sunny, outdoor courts down there,” she said.

“I really like the Christian environment. That was my No. 1 priority, finding a place that fits with my faith. … I knew it was for me right away.”

As far as this last season at Columbia River, Grisham will be trying keep the trend going, of doing better every year.

Grisham reached the WIAA Class 3A state tournament as a freshman, when Columbia River was a 3A program. She lost two three-set matches, but she got the feel of state tennis.

As a sophomore, she made it to the 2A tournament, reached the quarterfinals, then won her final two matches to place fourth.

Columbia River senior Faith Grisham placed fourth in state in 2017 and third in state last year. She hopes to have another high finish next month. Photo by Mike Schultz
Columbia River senior Faith Grisham placed fourth in state in 2017 and third in state last year. She hopes to have another high finish next month. Photo by Mike Schultz

Last season, two wins at state advanced her to the semifinals. She ended up winning the third-place match.

In the semifinals, she had a 3-2 lead in the first set against Dayna Wallis of North Kitsap. The lead did not last, but with Wallis graduated and playing in college now, the field is wide open this spring.

“This year, hopefully, is my year,” Grisham said.

A state title would feel good, she said, but it is not what will define her.

“The outcome will sort of take care of itself,” she said. “I don’t stress about it. I just enjoy every match, every minute on the court.”

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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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