Dome is crushed, spirits stay strong

Photo by Kamryn Ford

On Feb. 14, the Portland metropolitan area faced erratic snow and ice storms that left devastating amounts of damage. The Lewis & Clark tennis program suffered the loss of their practice facility, the tennis dome. While built to withstand inclement weather, the dome deflated and was brought to the ground during the historic storms. The season had already previously been modified due to COVID-19, presenting the team with an inordinate amount of challenges. However, they were determined to not let the collapse and removal of the dome affect their 2021 season.

The dome was erected by Arizon Building Systems, the leading manufacturer of domes within universities and country clubs in North America. It featured an energy-efficient mechanical system, skylights, insulation and most importantly, four completely covered tennis courts.

Since the loss of their facility, the program has shifted its practice and game locations to Mountain Park Racquet Club, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and Club Green Meadows located in Vancouver, Washington. Head Coach Jimmy Chau rapidly made this adjustment to ensure the teams had facilities to use during the unprecedented time. Chau expressed his gratitude towards the newly welcoming hosts.

“Both clubs that we are using have been extremely great hosts in a time where indoor court availability is scarce,” Chau said.

While the players would not have minded playing under the sun on the two outdoor courts at LC, the unpredictability of the weather in Portland makes it difficult to practice on home turf.

The remnants of the dome were removed on March 18. As of now, the plans for a new facility are up in the air. Insurance adjusters are still evaluating the damage and calculating the final amount that insurance will pay out. Despite the uncertainty, the coaches and players remain in good spirits.

“I know LC will do their best to move quickly with the best possible solution for our tennis program, the athletics department and the wider community as a whole,” Chau said.

Despite the hardships the program has faced, the tennis teams have not let it affect their play. The women’s team began its season with an impressive 4-2 record while the men’s team won four straight competitions, giving them a winning record of 5-3.

Due to the in-conference-only rules set in place by the Northwest Conference (NWC) this season, the women’s team only has four matches left before the NWC tournament begins May 8. They will face Linfield April 10 and 11. Both teams have a record of 4-2, and the upcoming matches will determine who is in second place behind George Fox.

The men’s team will also be playing Linfield this weekend, with only four matches left before the tournament. They are currently sitting in third place in the NWC, and they hope to continue their winning streak and come out on top

The loss of a facility in the midst of a pandemic is unfortunate, but the Pios have persevered. Their optimistic outlook has led them to achieve two strong records while showing promising potential in the upcoming NWC tournament.

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