Olympia’s Boys Tennis Players Hunter Wood and John Stormans


By Gail Wood


They’re the perfect teammates, longtime friends who share the same penchant for tennis.

A year ago, Hunter Wood and John Stormans, who first began hitting tennis balls to each other when they were 8, won a 4A state doubles championship, never even losing one set in four matches. In the finals, the Olympia duo beat Bellarmine 6-2, 6-3, giving the Bears their first doubles state championship in over 30 years.

“They’re such good friends,” said Denny Bailey, who is beginning his 10th season as Olympia’s coach. “They play with such passion. They want every point.”

They’re the committed champs, playing tennis year around for the past eight years. After their 90-minute practice with their school team ends, Wood and Stormans head for another workout, either hitting with their private coach or working out on their own for at least another hour.

Sometimes, their combo workouts add up to five hours a day. It’s the price of success they’re willing to pay. These two friends with a knack for smashing game winners share the same goal – earning a major college tennis scholarship.

“I think I have a shot at breaking into the top 100 in the country,” Stormans said. “I want to make a push for playing on a real good D-1 college.”

Wood began playing tennis at age 5, first hitting with his mom and grandmother. When he turned 11, he took lessons at a tennis academy near Bellevue, driving the 140-mile round trip five days a week with his mom, Cindi. They’d get up at 4:30 each morning, scoot out the door and squeeze in the hour lesson and three-hour commute before his classes started at 10 a.m. at Sunrise Beach, a private school in Olympia.

Wood, with his mom as the faithful taxi driver, did that for a year. After that, he worked with a number of coaches, including Jody Rush and Doug Ruffin.

Both Wood and Stormans have been ranked high in the Northwest and have played in national tournaments. Wood has been ranked as high as third in juniors in the Northwest. A Northwest all-star team he was on placed third as a team at a national tournament, which is one of the highest finishes for a Northwest team.

Stormans, influenced by his older brother, Kent, a four-time state qualifier in tennis at Olympia High, started playing tennis at 7. Kent graduated in the spring from Westmont University, where he played tennis.

“My brother played and it looked like fun,” Stormans said. “I just picked tennis up pretty quick. I started running with it the better I got.”

Oly’s winning duo focused on tennis early, with Wood dropping basketball after playing on the school team in ninth grade. Stormans dropped basketball after eighth grade.

“If I’m going to be the best I can be at tennis, then that’s all that I could play,” Stormans said.

The sacrifice has had its rewards. Stormans has been ranked as high as 120 in the country and as high as third in the Northwest for the junior division. Last spring in Louisiana, Stormans’ doubles team upset a team with the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked players in the country.

“That was my biggest win in my life,” Stormans said. “We were just playing really good.”

Neither Wood nor Stormans took long to adjust to high school tennis. As a freshman, Wood, who is a year older than Stormans, became Olympia’s No. 1 singles player, qualifying for state that first year. But the next year, Stormans took over the No. 1 spot, also qualifying for state.

Last year, they figured their best shot at winning a state title was joining forces. They’re the ideal duo.

“John and I have been good friends for a long time,” said Hunter, the oldest of six children. “We have a good connection. We communicate well. We’ve been playing together for a long time, so we know each other’s game.”

Stormans said, “We know what we’re good at and what we’re bad at, which helps.”

A recent commitment to weight lifting has added power to John’s games, often resulting in passing shots that whiz by an opponent at the net. Hunter, now 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, has always played with that whack-away power with his serve or his baseline strokes. He’s served as fast as 120 mph.

“John can hit it a ton now because he’s been lifting weights. He can blast it,” Bailey said. “Hunter is a power guy, too. He’s been our Andy Roddick. John was our McEnroe, Agassi combination kind of thing. But boy, John can hit it as hard as Hunter now.”

While committed to tennis, Wood, whose father, Brodie, is an orthopedic surgeon, and Stormans, whose family owns several local grocery markets, have managed to keep a balanced life. Wood is a classic pianist, playing since he was 5. Stormans sings in the school choir.  Both players are gregarious, friendly with teammates. They don’t carry a “I’m better than you” ego on the courts.

“John seeks that balance himself,” said Cristina Stormans, John’s mom. “He’s super social. He enjoys his friends, enjoys schools and enjoys church. So, he wants that balance. It’s healthy.”

Like Wood, Stormans thrives in those big matches.

“John wants to be in those situations,” Cristina said. “He seeks those out. He wants to see how he matches up and see what he has to work on. He’s having fun. We’re having fun.”

Here are some players to watch for the season:


  • Hunter Wood, Olympia, sr, a varsity player since his freshman year who won a state doubles title. Has aspirations to play tennis at a major college.
  • John Stormans, Olympia, jr, teamed up with Wood last year to win the 4A state doubles championship. Among the top-ranked players in the Northwest.
  • Jack Swanson, Capital, sr., qualified for district and the Cougars No. 1 singles player in the season opener.
  • Landon Hankins, Capital, part of a strong young team that has 52 turning out. 13 of Capital’s top 16 players from last year graduate.
  • Doug Doenges, Capital, a transfer from Bellarmine and a promising player
  • Zach Drake, Tumwater, jr., placed second at league and reached state, losing his first two matches
  • Jimmy Do, Black Hills, soph, reached state last year as a freshman and finished 1-2, winning his second match 7-6, 6-3.
  • Jason Agtarap, North Thurston, soph, last year as a freshman teamed up with then-senior Nikhal Das to reach state and placed seventh
  • Nathan Stahley, Olympia, jr, has a nice kick serve, solid with strokes
  • Drew Shanafelt, Olympia, sr., will team up with Stahley for the Bears’ No. 2 doubles team
  • William Berghoff, Olympia, frosh, a solid up-and-comer with a promising future
  • Nolan Godfrey, Olympia, soph, a solid left-hander who will often play No. 2 singles for the Bears.


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