Name: Hannah Swope
School: Central Cambria
Swope’s week: Swope runs cross country at Central Cambria, but she found enough spare time to participate in last week’s District 6-AA girls tennis tournament.
A 14-year-old, Swope steamrolled through the competition as she won the championship without losing a set in four matches.
Swope defeated Tyrone’s Ana Hollen 6-2, 6-1 in the final.
“I was real nervous at first, but as I played more, I started to play better and get into my game,” Swope said. “I put a lot of spin on the ball and mix up my shots. I was able to do that.”
With her victory, Swope qualified for the PIAA tournament, which begins Friday, Nov. 2 at Hershey Racquet Club.
Swope plays the District 11 champion – Kara Chyung of Moravian Academy – in the first round.
On the fly: Because of cross country commitments, Swope hadn’t played competitive tennis since the summer, yet her resume playing on USTA’s junior circuit was strong enough for District 6 officials to give her the No. 1 seed for the tournament, which took place at Altoona High School.
She had no idea about the competition at the district tournament.
“I was a little worried about it, but I knew I could do it,” she said. “I thought every one played really great. Every one had a great attitude. I really enjoyed it.”
Two-sports at once: Swope runs cross country because the Red Devils do not field a girls tennis team.
She could play for the Red Devils boys tennis team, but PIAA rules dictate she could not participate in girls tennis tournaments if she did. Still, if Central Cambria can qualify for the PIAA cross country meet, Swope could pull a rare double duty in Hershey.
“It’s hard with everything going on. I haven’t played much tennis with cross country going on,” Swope said. “If I’m able to do both, that would be amazing.”
Coached by mom: With no girls tennis team at Central Cambria, Swope was coached by her mother, Lisa, at the District 6 tournament. Lisa Swope is an assistant boys tennis coach at Central Cambria during the spring.
“This was first experience coaching her,” Lisa Swope said. “It actually worked out well as a coach/player relationship.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Hannah, who is a member of student council and a dancer in the Central Cambria production of “Guys and Dolls.”
“She was more like a coach than a mother (for the tournament),” she said. “She was still supportive, but she gave lots of good advice.”