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Pennsbury Varsity Tennis is a smash at 2021 PIAA Girls’ State Championships

by Stewart Gross

This past November, the Pennsbury High School varsity tennis team finished third in the State PIAA Finals at the Hershey Racquet Club, in Hershey, PA.

Seniors Megan Walsh and Kyra Workman placed third in the States in doubles after winning the Suburban One League (SOL) doubles tournament held on November 5th and 6th.  They beat West Chester Area High School in the district finals and Henderson High School (also located in West Chester) for third place at States. Both Megan and Kyra have been scouted by NCAA Division III recruiters and plan to play in college.

Pennsbury has a freshman to look out for the next three years! 

Noor Heiba,was the Patriot Division’s singles champion.

It should be exciting to watch her progress.

Overall, Pennsbury placed third in the states, finishing behind a strong first place Conestoga High School (Berwyn, PA) and second place Unionville High School (Kennett Square, PA).

All three teams and Spring-Ford, who also finished in the top four, are from District 12 in Pennsylvania as the PIAA has the state sub-divided into 12 districts.

There was no playback at the state championships to determine third or fourth place between Pennsbury and Spring-Ford High School (Royersford, PA).

According to head coach Tenaz Purdy, that is historic.

“This was the first time in the history of the PIAA that all four teams came from the same district. We have very strong tennis programs and racquet clubs in this area.”

According to Purdy, “Most of the players have been playing since early on in their lives at Pennsbury Racquet and Athletic Club (PRAC), Northampton Tennis Club, or Bucks County Racquet Club.

What makes this strong season all the more incredible for Pennsbury was the adversity of the first three weeks of the season.

“We didn’t have an easy year,” says the coach. “I was told we were going to have 10 new tennis courts. When the time for August try-outs came along, there were only five courts painted and they had no fences! It was a supply chain issue, like everything else during this Covid period. The fencing the district athletic department purchased was on back order for months.”

“The custodians put Orange Guardian Safety Barrier fencing around the perimeter so that we could try to play, but balls kept going under and over the fencing. It was almost impossible to play tennis like that.” 

“We had to cut try-out times in half. Instead of one four-hour session, [we] held split tryouts. The varsity practice and tried out from 8:00 to 10:00am, and the JV from 10:00am until noon each day.”

“When the season came, we had to turn our home matches into away matches and spent the first three weeks of the season on the road. This was particularly hard on the girls since they had to miss last period classes to get on the bus and travel. It was a tough season that ended so well.”

Coach Purdy, who is also a business teacher, school-to-work mentor, and author, has now coached Pennsbury varsity tennis for five years.

She also gives a lot of credit for her team’s success to new JV Coach Richard Genevie.

“He used to teach and coach middle school tennis in Trenton and was a great addition to the program.”

Congratulations to Pennsbury Girl’s tennis on turning adversity into victory!

PHOTO CAPS:

1. Pennsbury’s Megan Walsh and Kyra Workman won the SOL Patriot Division Doubles title and placed 3rd at the PIAA State Doubles Championships.

2. Pennsbury’s Noor Heiba won the Suburban One League  Patriot Division Singles title.

3. Pennsbury Girls Tennis won the SOL Patriot Division team title, placed 3rd at District One 3A division, and placed in the Final Four at the PIAA State Team Championships. Front row (L-R): Mia Elkind, Laura Bezio, Keila Pelaez, Paige Workman, Isabella Gonzalez, Juhi Parikh, Brianna Gayle, Ridhi Singh, and Jaclyn Hauben. Back row (L-R): Assistant Coach Richard Genevie, Megan Walsh, Sriya Amineni, Bailey Arcuri, Kyra Workman, Gianna Longo, Emilie Bortnichak, Noor Heiba, Katelyn Baik, and Head Coach Tenaz Purdy.

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