Weddington duo wins state girls doubles tennis title

The Weddington tandem of (from left) Heidi Swope and Emma Yates claimed the Class 3A girls tennis doubles championship on Saturday, Oct. 27.

According to Weddington tennis players Heidi Swope and Emma Yates, dropping their first set, 6-4, after building a 4-1 lead against the Charlotte Catholic doubles team of Grace Deering and Rachel Tomchin during the Class 3A championships last week was the turning point that made their 2012 state doubles title possible.

“We’re both very driven, and we were there to win and play our best,” said Yates, a senior. “Getting down (in that first set) actually (helped). As stressful as it was, we play our best when we get down.”

And it showed. Swope and Yates rallied to take a 6-1 win in the second frame before clinching the title in the third set, 6-3, on Saturday, Oct. 27.

Deering and Tomchin had beaten the Weddington pair handily in the 3A Western Regional finals the week before. And the Warriors’ ability to jump out to the 4-1 lead, despite eventually dropping the set, was just the confidence boost they needed, said Swope.

“That really helped me with my drive,” Swope, a sophomore, said.

Warriors coach Mike Murphy said it was impressive that Yates and Swope were able to battle back after falling behind, especially considering the mental hurdle facing Tomchin and Deering presented following the regional loss.

“Especially after blowing a 4-1 lead in the first set,” said Murphy. “To rally back after that was really quite a challenge, but there was a look in their eyes that said they wouldn’t be denied. They were so much more competitive in the match than they were the week before.”

The title marked the third consecutive time Weddington has been represented in the doubles championship in as many years – and the second time the Warriors have claimed the title in that stretch after Sarah Carroll and Kindell Schmitt took the crown in 2010. Swope and Casey Rowe lost in the finals last year.

The title was made even more special for Swope and Yates, considering they’re longtime friends and neighbors. The pair grew up just down the street from each other.

“(That) just made it so much better,” said Swope. “We’ve known each other so long and have grown up together going to the same school, and that really helped us (emotionally in the match).”

And it presented the perfect ending to Yates’ career.

“I started playing (tennis) because I met her and she was playing,” said Yates, “so it was very cool to have started my tennis career with her and ended my high school career with her, all at the same time.”

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