The math doesn’t add up.
How is that Courtlyn Lam is going after her fourth district title when Lam is just a junior on the Klamath Union girls tennis team?
If she won as a freshman and a sophomore, wouldn’t her winning as a junior make three district titles?
When the caveat that she joined the team as an eighth grader is added, suddenly the math makes more sense. Since joining the team as a middle schooler, Lam has captured three district titles and one state title, working on No. 4 and No. 2. Unlike most high school juniors who will have a one more year left to play, Lam is in her last year of eligibility.
Because she started as an eighth grader, 2019 will be her final season competing for the Pelicans.
“We are kinda sad about that,” said head tennis coach Mary Young.
Uncertain if she would get a match or not due to the fact that Cascade Christian only had three players available for Tuesday’s match, Lam didn’t find out until later in the day that she would have a match against Grace Melvin, a freshman who had some quality wins under her belt this season.
Lam’s result Tuesday was on par with how the season has gone for the defending state champion — winning in straight sets. Lam used an overpowering left-handed serve against Melvin to cruise to an easy victory.
“I got (the serves) in consistently, that was the main thing,” she said. “Coming off a tournament it’s getting back into the repetitive motion of serving and hitting your strokes. Getting your serves in means a lot in matches.”
As the calendar flips from April to May, it’s a signal that districts and state are happening in the coming weeks. Young reflects on the growth that Lam has had since she stepped foot on the court as an eighth grader.
Young has seen Lam turn not only into a more skilled tennis player but becoming more of a competitor. In the state championship match last season, Lam trailed 5-2 in the last set and surrendering another point would have meant a second-place finish. Rather, Lam would rally to steal the set and capture the title.
“She’s an all-around player, she has an all-court game, she’s a tough opponent, she doesn’t give up,” her coach said. “She’s not a big girl but she hits the ball hard, I’ve seen her increase her power. But I would say the biggest thing is that she is a more consistent player, a smart player that knows where to put the ball.”
Unsurprisingly, Lam’s goal is to repeat as state champion. Despite suffering a bicep injury earlier in the season that kept her out for a match, Lam has rolled through her opponents. She was the singles champion at the Steve Rankin Tournament two weeks ago and has won each of her matches in straight sets.
For Lam to reach her goal, she’s aware that the next couple of weeks there needs to be improvements in her game.
“Getting my serves more consistent,” she said,” planning out my shots better, having a mindset that’s ready to win and compete as hard as I can.”