Clear Spring senior Miranda Kearney was motivated by what she did NOT want to be known as.
Specifically, she wanted to prove she wasn’t a fluke.
In 2011, after going undefeated at No. 2 singles in the regular season of her junior year, Kearney stunned South Hagerstown senior Tinuke Adetunji 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 in the county tournament final. She finished 21-2 overall and placed fourth in the Region I tournament.
“Mainly, what I was thinking was I had to do as good as I did last year because I didn’t want people to say I won last year because of luck,” said Kearney.
If anyone was before, no one’s calling her a fluke now.
Kearney moved up to No. 1 singles this season and was even more dominant. She went 15-0 in regular-season matches — winning all 29 sets she played and getting pushed to a tiebreaker only once, by North Hagerstown’s Mollie Johnson.
“It was kind of surprising. I was expecting more (from the competition),” Kearney said. “I was surprised I didn’t go even three sets.”
Then she lost just seven games across four sets in the county tournament semifinal and final to repeat as the girls singles champion, before finishing third at the Region I tournament to finish 19-1 this season.
Its no fluke that Kearney isTheHerald-Mail’s 2012 Washington County Girls Tennis Player of the Year.
“When you think about Miranda, she didn’t even play as a freshman. She’s only played three years, so her natural ability and athleticism added to her success,” Blazers coach Lisa Shives said. “It would be hard to find somebody who works harder than Miranda.”
Or somebody who learned the mental side of the game better.
Kearney used her superb defensive skills to frustrate harder-hitting opponents, playing a consistent brand of tennis and either waiting for her foe to make a mistake, or waiting for the right opening to hit a winner.
“I tried to not make many errors, keep the ball in longer,” Kearney said. “I didn’t have to hit every shot hard. A lot of people think they have to hit hard all the time, but I only did when I had the shot. I tried to pull them to the net because I lob good.”
“She’s definitely very coachable and she understands the game,” Shives said. “When you told her something, she’d say, ‘Yeah, I noticed that.’ She always seemed to be a step ahead of me. ... I just think she’s so good because she’s such an athlete, and in tennis, a lot of times that’s what it takes.”
Kearney is joined on the All-County First Team by:
Rose Chiumento, Saint James
Saints senior went 10-2 at No. 2 singles and won the IPSL title at that position.
Sarah Colgan, Boonsboro
Warriors senior teamed with Ashlyn Hawbaker to go 19-1 at No. 1 doubles and win the county tournament title.
Ashlyn Hawbaker, Boonsboro