Helton, a junior who was a first team All-Inter-Ac and All-Main Line girls tennis selection as a sophomore, plays first singles for EA and is a key reason the Churchwomen are off to a 6-1 start (as of Sept. 24). EA girls tennis coach Whit Powell said, “I think what stands out about Kamora right away is her tremendous athleticism. She plays a physical brand of tennis that gives her an advantage over most of her opponents. Her willingness to grind and work points speaks to her tennis maturity. She is also incredibly coachable…open to feedback yet asks questions to understand the instructions on a deeper level. She is also able to implement strategic changes to combat her opponents’ strengths and weaknesses.” Helton also runs track for EA.
Q: What do you think has been the key(s) to your success this season?
A: Keeping a positive attitude and always having high energy on the court have definitely been the keys to my success this season so far. Instead of getting down on myself I quickly go over why I lost the point and regroup myself and try to learn from my mistakes rather than let them affect how I play for the rest of the match.
Q: What do you think is the strongest part of your game? What part of your game have you worked on the most recently?
A: I think my forehand is the strongest part of my game. Most female tennis players are taught to hit a flat ball, but growing up training around mostly guys I was taught to be able to do both flat and topspin shots which gives me an advantage. I have been working a lot on staying patient in points, because I am an aggressive baseliner. I tend to try and end the point fast rather than grinding it out and finding an opportunity to end the point.
Q: Who are your favorite tennis players? Do you try to pattern your game after them?
A: Serena Williams will always be my biggest inspiration. Growing up in a sport where not many players look like you was a struggle, and it brought doubt. But having someone that looks like you, and went extremely far in the game gave me hope and inspired me to work hard, even when it was difficult – it let me believe that I could also reach my dreams. Serena’s aggressive playing style is a pattern that I have picked up in my game, looking for ways to take control of the point and to avoid getting on defense.
Q: Tell us a little about your start in tennis. Who have been your top tennis mentors, and what was the most important thing you learned from each of them?
A: I started playing tennis when I was six years old. I was highly influenced by my family friend Nadiyah Browning, who attended EA and graduated in 2016. She is a major part in why I started playing tennis and the reason I applied to EA. Alongside of Nadiyah Browning, my private lesson coach Andrew Weiss taught me so much about trusting yourself on the court and finding your game. The summer of 2021 we spent the entire summer breaking down my game and building it back up so that I could become a stronger player, and more of a well-rounded player that can use their athleticism but also be able to think of patterns and strategies on the court.
Q: Tell us a little about your pre-match preparation the day of a match.
A: Making sure I got a good lunch is very important, since tennis isn’t a timed sport you can be on the court for hours so I make sure I am prepared for that. Journalling is a big thing I was taught being brought up through Legacy where I train, and so I always jot down my goals for the match and things to focus on incase I have to look at it during the match.
Q: What is your favorite tennis venue, and why?
A: I have grown up attending the U.S. Open and watching it as well – being able to watch pro players in person is an experience like no other. When I was 12, I was able to participate in Ashe Day with Legacy for Net Generation and it was such a cool experience.
Q: What is your favorite academic course at EA?
A: English is my favorite academic course at EA.
Fun facts – Kamora Helton
Favorite TV show: Jane the Virgin.
Favorite movie: Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Favorite athlete: Serena Williams.
Favorite place to visit: Dominican Republic.
Favorite pre-match meal: Mango smoothie, or Acai bowl.
Person I most admire, and why: “The person I admire the most is Coach [Whit] Powell he made me feel a part of the team from the start even when I came during COVID my freshman year. Coach Powell is someone that I know only wants the best for me and that he is someone I can talk to about anything and joke with, but is also someone that will push me and make me work hard.”
Family members: parents Kyle and Joni, brothers Jaden and KJ.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach).
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