Conrad Weiser’s Emma Perkins made girls tennis history Tuesday by winning her fourth BCIAA Flight 1 singles championship at Laureldale.
Perkins defeated Hamburg’s Mia Gassert 6-1, 6-3 to join Wyomissing’s Martha Blakely (2004-07) and Wilson’s Cara Wirth (2008-11) as the only four-time Flight 1 girls singles champs in Berks history.
“I feel good,” Perkins said. “I feel a bit relieved because I felt so much pressure coming into this match. Just because so many people have been talking to me about the four-peat and everything. I was just stressed out but I feel a lot better now.”
The top two Class 2A seeds kept things competitive, but in the end Perkins was able to beat Gassert, a junior, for the second year in a row..
“Of course, I wanted to win but she deserves it,” Gassert said about her close friend winning the title. “She worked for it and I’m happy for her honestly.”
From a distance, Perkins seemed cool and collected in the big moment but she said she felt differently on the court.
“I was more nervous,” Perkins said. “I was literally shaking but I expected it because it happens every year. I tried to ignore it.”
Perkins did ignore the anxiousness and her coach, Ryan Knarr, said he expected this outcome.
“Emma’s a once-in-a-generation athlete,” Knarr said. “To be the third player to win four county titles is unforgettable. The ability she has in every single match she’s in and playing her best in the biggest moments is something you can’t teach. It’s intangible. That coupled with her unmatched work ethic, her dedication, and her love for the game speaks volumes to the one-of-a-kind athlete she is.”
Knarr spoke about how much time and effort Perkins puts in that no one sees. He said she always keeps pushing to become a better tennis player and person.
After winning the singles title, Perkins teamed with Isabel Wiggins to win her third Flight 1 doubles title..
Perkins and Wiggins defeated Reading High sisters Hailey and Hallie Guerrero 6-3, 6-0.
Perkins won with Victoria Waltz last year and with Alex Pancu in 2020. She finished second with Michelle Timothy in 2021.
Other flight champions were Wyomssing’s Lily Chen in Flight 2, Reading High’s Haylee Ortega in Flight 3, Berks Catholic’s Claire Pakradooni in Flight 4, and Brandywine Height’s Grace Potteiger in Flight 5.
Wilson’s Brooke Mengel and Lucy Lamparella won the Flight 2 doubles title.
Perkins will now go on to play in districts and states as she hopes to keep up her winning ways.
Even with making Berks history, Perkins seemed humble about everything she has achieved.
“Mostly my parents just because they have funded everything I’ve done, ever,” Perkins said on who she wanted to thank. “They’ve raised me to be this person. For the tennis side, my coaches, Ryan (Knarr), (assistant) Coach (Dr. Keith) Rogers, and just everyone who’s ever helped me in tennis in any way. They’ve been the main people in my life. So a big thank you to them.”
“Today was a ‘four-ever’ moment for Emma, for Conrad Weiser tennis, and the people that love tennis in Berks County because it shows what hard work and dedication can do over a long period of time,” Knarr said.
Source: Berkshire mont