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High school tennis: Weddington’s Heidi Swope has eyes on 3rd state title

By Jay Edwards
Correspondent
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/12/19/16/GbdkB.Em.138.jpeg|233
    - Heidi Swope
    Weddington High senior Heidi Swope has won two state championships. “I definitely want one more,” she says.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/12/19/16/1qh5M9.Em.138.jpeg|421
    Courtesy of Catherine Gish -
    Lauren Gish, a sophomore at Lake Norman, was 4A West Regional champion and a 4A state quarterfinalist as a freshman.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/12/19/16/AQbuA.Em.138.jpeg|210
    -
    Hannah Archer, a junior at Lake Norman Charter, won the 2012 1A state singles championship and made it to the 2A state semifinals in 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/12/19/16/13cHCl.Em.138.jpeg|389
    - Heidi Swope
    Weddington High’s Heidi Swope has a 3A state singles title and a 3A state doubles title with Emma Yates.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/12/19/16/4yEBq.Em.138.jpeg|473
    -
    Gabby Moore, a junior at Hough, was a 4A West Regional semifinalist and 4A state singles quarterfinalist last season.

More Information

  • Observer-area tennis players to watch

    Courtney Mudge, Community School of Davidson, Sr.: 2013 1A state champion became school’s first student to win it all, beating sophomore teammate Marisa Deininger in the state final.

    Hannah Archer, Lake Norman Charter, Jr.: 2012 1A state singles champion was 2A state semifinalist in 2013.

    Lauren Gish, Lake Norman, Soph.: North Piedmont 4A champion, 4A West Regional champion, 4A state quarterfinalist as a freshman.

    Gabby Moore, Hough, Jr.: Two-time conference singles champion, 4A West Regional semifinalist and 4A state singles’ quarterfinalist last season.

    McKinley Riley, Charlotte Catholic, Soph.: Cannon transfer part of a deep and talented lineup with sophomores Megan Leonard and Rachel Marthinsen and freshman Catie Nelson also playing big roles for the Cougars.

    Avery Hunter, Charlotte Country Day, Jr.: All-state performer back to lead always-talented Bucs squad.

    Caroline Kurani and Addison Heintze, Providence Day, Soph.: Sophomores will vie for No. 1 spot on a young, but talented, team, according to coach Ryan Harper.

    Sarah Yuan, Ardrey Kell, Jr.: Knights’ No. 1 returns to lead 4A state runner-up back into contention.

    Charlotte Deiss, East Mecklenburg, Sr.: Southwestern 4A singles champion also boasts a 5.1 GPA.

    Sarah Jiang, Cox Mill, Jr.: Two-time 3A state singles runner-up.

    Jay Edwards



Heidi Swope doesn’t like to lose at anything – from a big tennis match for her Weddington High team or on the U.S. Tennis Associaition junior circuit, or even a game of table tennis with a friend.

Swope’s competitive attitude and intensity have fueled her success on the tennis court, where she has lost only twice (one singles, one doubles match) at Weddington.

Swope, the reigning Observer girls’ tennis player of the year, has played her best tennis in her biggest high school matches, winning the 3A state doubles title with Emma Yates as a sophomore, before coming back to win the 3A state singles title last season.

“Every time I step onto the court I am going out there to win,” said Swope, who is No. 12 in the state in juniors and No. 8 in her senior class, according to tennisrecruiting.net. “I’m never afraid of my opponent because I train hard, practice hard and I believe you practice how you play. Losing is something I definitely don’t like. I am a very competitive person in everything I do.”

Weddington coach Mike Murphy has seen it all first hand.

“Heidi likes the toughest matches and always rises to the occasion,” Murphy said. “You’re going to have to earn every point against her, and she is not going to give you anything. She is an extremely focused player.”

That focus has been on full display in both state championship wins.

In 2012, Swope and Yates were blown out by Charlotte Catholic’s Grace Deering and Rachel Tomchin in the 3A West Regional final.

One week later after losing the opening set to Deering and Tomchin, Swope and Yates roared back, winning the final two sets 6-1, 6-3 to take the 3A state doubles title. Last season, Swope (20-1 singles, only loss to Deering) tore through the 3A state singles bracket not losing a set, dispatching Cox Mill’s Sarah Jiang in the final 6-3, 6-0.

“It’s an amazing feeling winning a state championship and representing your school,” Swope said. “A lot of people dream of just winning one (championship), and I’ve been fortunate to get two. I definitely want one more.”

Weddington was the 2013 3A state runner-up in the team competition, and in addition to Swope, returns senior Hayley Hinson, juniors Charlotte Ulehla and Ashley Hinson (Hayley’s sister) and sophomore Morgan Weatherby.

Although Swope doesn’t really need extra motivation, she doesn’t have to look past her bedroom dresser to find it.

“I have both state championship rings in a little box on my dresser open where I can see them every day when I wake up,” she said. “It’s always very motivating to see them in the morning, and it’s something that helps motivate me to get up and get to work.”

Fall sports previews

The Observer’s fall sports previews will continue with golf Thursday, followed by cross country and volleyball Friday, soccer Saturday and football Sunday.

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