Amelia Honer made history when she became the first girl in Council Rock North history to capture the PIAA Class 3A Singles title last weekend. Making the accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that she is an elite tennis player who competes year round on the USTA circuit. Many with Honer’s dazzling resume would opt to forego high school tennis.
That wasn’t a consideration for the Rock North junior.
“I play tennis a lot outside of school, but high school tennis is something I come back to each year just because I love playing for my team and for my school,” Honer said. “I think it’s cool being able to represent Council Rock North.
“I love my team and my coaches, and they’re all supportive, and I think this year we’ve gotten super close. They always ask me how I’m doing, and when we play, we’re always cheering each other on. It was a great atmosphere this year and the previous years.”
There’s no denying that high school tennis conflicts with the USTA tournament circuit, but Honer doesn’t view that as a deterrent.
“I know it’s only for a few months of the year, and I have so much fun with it that it’s worth the sacrifices of not going to some of my tournaments or practices, and it’s nice being with my team,” Honer said.
Listening to coach Linda Morrin tell it, Honer’s a valued member of the team for reasons that go beyond her immense talent.
“She’s just so enthusiastic – she has more energy than anybody can imagine,” the Rock North coach said. “She makes our whole team so good because of her energy. They all want to emulate her. She’s got such an incredibly positive attitude – coaches and players alike like to be around her.
“She trains two days a week and she also has a private coach that she works with at least once a week, and she still fits in working with the team.”
A three-time SOL singles champion, Honer finished third in the District One 3A Tournament as a freshman and second as a sophomore. She finished fourth in the state tournament as both a freshman and sophomore.
“Last year was the year we really thought she was going to win (the state title), but in the district final, she had to withdraw because of a severely pulled hamstring,” Morrin said. “With the injury, she hadn’t been on the court in two weeks.”
This fall, a healthy Honer rolled through the SOL Singles Tournament and did the same at the District One 3A Tournament where she did not lose a set. The Rock North junior entered the state tournament as the number one seed from District One.
“Finishing fourth the past two years, I really wanted to break that curse of the semifinals,” Honer said. “I was hoping to do the best that I could and get the number one spot, especially since I knew some of the seniors graduated last year, so I felt this year was really my chance.”
Coming as no surprise, Honer once again dominated her opponents.
After an opening round 6-2, 6-3 win over District 7’s third seed Mia Gorman, Honer rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win of District 3 runner-up Sarah Guistwite from Carlisle. In the semifinals, Honer notched a 6-3, 6-3 win over District 7’s second seed, senior Bethany Yauch from Baldwin. She went on to earn a 6-1, 6-2 win over District 7 champion Charlotte James in the state title match.
“This year, we knew we had to get past District 7 in the first round,” Morrin said. “I said, ‘Amelia, what do you think?’ She said, ‘This match is going to be really tricky. I played Mia Gorman several times in national tournaments. Indoors, she’s probably a little bit stronger than I am. Outdoors, I can beat her.’ The first round match should have been the final. It was that good.”
Although she made it look easy, Honer admitted that she did feel some stress.
“A lot of the girls I played I’ve been friends with for a while,” she said. “And I know their capability and I know they can be super tough. I came in with an open mind and just played it point by point.”
Only a junior, Honer will have an opportunity to defend the state title she owns again next year.
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