Athlete of the week: Panther standout credits her success to constant training
11/01/2011 12:00 AM
10/31/2011 4:28 PM
If you are looking for Katie Porter, she's probably on a tennis court.
From Florida to California, the Providence High senior tennis standout has played in more than 26 U.S. Tennis Association junior events in the last year, including some of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the country.
Porter also trains year-round with her private coach, Calvin Davis (also Charlotte Country Day's tennis coach) and Tennis Advancement Program six days a week.
Her private practices don't include the two to three months a year that Porter also plays for the Providence High team.
"You definitely have to love tennis a lot to play it as much as I do," said Porter, who started playing tennis when she was 9 years old and has competed in USTA junior events since she was 12. "The hardest part for me is balancing school and tennis because I'm usually traveling two to three weeks a month. But school is my No. 1 priority, so I do a lot of studying between matches, on car rides or in planes."
Porter, who also has a higher than 4.0 grade point average while taking advanced placement and honors classes, earned the No. 2 singles spot as a freshman and moved up to No. 1 her sophomore year and has kept it ever since.
About two years ago, she also started working with Davis and the TAPS program and has seen major results.
Porter, 17, is currently ranked No. 4 in the state, No. 35 in the southeast region and No. 154 in the nation, according to tennisrecruitingnetwork.com, where she is also listed as a four-star (out of five) college prospect.
Porter has done it by qualifying for and playing well in some of the nation's best events, like the National Hard Court Championships in San Diego, the National Clay Court Championships in Virginia Beach, Va., and the Southern Cup in Chattanooga, Tenn., just in the last year.
Porter's biggest win may have come this summer when she beat Jessie Lynn Paul, who has been ranked as high as No. 5 in the country, in a college event at UNC Chapel Hill.
Porter said Davis helped her learn to play the game the right way, by teaching how to structure each point, by setting up each shot and trying to dictate what your opponent does, not the other way around.
Davis has coached four players who made it to the professional level, including three local stars: former East Mecklenburg star Cecil Brandon (Alabama), former Country Day standout Tripp Phillips (now UNC assistant coach) and former Northwestern (Rock Hill) star, Leslie Joseph (who made it to the U.S. Open doubles semifinals).
Davis thinks Porter has the ability to play college tennis. She is currently receiving interest from the Naval Academy and is also looking at schools like Davidson, Elon and N.C. State.
While Porter has vastly improved on the junior circuit, she is also having a season to remember in her final season at Providence.
Porter has led her team to a 12-2 record, their first Southwestern 4A championship in six years and their first win over Myers Park in that span. She was 18-0 in singles play and won both the individual SW4A and 4A West Regional titles.
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