Franklin Regional freshman wins section singles title
Franklin Regional's No. 1 is now Section 1-AAA's No. 1.
Freshman Natalia Perry flew through the competition to win the Section 1-AAA singles tournament played Thursday and Friday on Franklin Regional's home courts.
Perry lost only three games in the entire tournament — all in the final to Penn-Trafford sophomore Charlotte Vertes — and likely will be among the top seeds for the WPIAL Class AAA singles tournament that begins this Thursday at Norwin High School. Pairings for the tournament were not available before this edition's deadline.
“I'm excited. I know some of the girls (from other schools) from USTA events that I've played. I know the competition will be at a higher level than in our section, so I'm excited for the challenge,” said Perry, who has yet to lose a high school match.
“My school hasn't won a WPIAL title in a long time, so I'm going to try and get as far as I can.”
Perry will be joined in the WPIAL tournament by Vertes, who she beat 6-0, 6-3, in the section final, and by Hempfield sophomore Madison DeBone, who won the third-place match over Norwin junior Alexa Holleran, 6-1, 6-0.
On her way to the final, Perry defeated Greensburg Salem's Annie Neurohr and Hempfield's Carly Bryan, 10-0, and Holleran in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-0. But even in those matches, she continued to work on her game ahead of this week's challenge.
“I try to focus on every shot I hit, no matter who is on the other side,” Perry said. “I try to experiment and work with different shots that I normally don't hit.”
The path to the final was a similar one for Vertes, who will be playing in her second WPIAL singles tournament after being the section runner-up for the second year in a row. She beat Connellsville's Kasey McIntosh and Norwin's Courtney O'Connell, 10-0, before defeating DeBone in the semifinals, 6-0, 6-4.
Holleran began her tournament with a 10-0 win over Alexa Cramer of Kiski Area and a 10-4 win over Anna Wears of Latrobe before her semifinal loss.
Three other Star coverage area players competed in the tournament — Norwin junior O'Connell, Franklin Regional senior Lauren Bailey and Penn-Trafford senior Alexis Ryan.
O'Connell defeated Amber Vozar of Kiski Area, 10-3, before losing to Vertes; Bailey defeated Paige Kemsey of Greensburg Salem, 10-2, before losing to DeBone, 10-4; and Ryan fell to Wears in her first match, 10-7.
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.