Dallastown's Holden Koons wins District 3-AAA crown
- Dallastown's Holden Koons is the District 3-AAA boys' tennis singles champion.
- Koons is the first Dallastown player to win the title since Billy Heird in 2006.
- Koons took three sets to win his semifinal, but just needed two sets in the championship match.
HERSHEY — Holden Koons added another unforgettable memory to his amazing tennis season on Monday afternoon.
Dallastown's freshman phenom captured the District 3-AAA singles title to go with his York-Adams League singles crown.
Koons' quest for a district championship consumed 3 hours and 45 minutes and two extremely competitive matches, but the Wildcats' star achieved his goal.
After rallying to beat Cumberland Valley's Milo Nagle, 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, in the semfinals, Koons turned back the challenge of Manheim Township's Griffin Clark, 6-4, 7-5, to earn the title.
Koons, the first York-Adams player to win a district AAA boys' singles crown since another Wildcat, Billy Heird, in 2006, continued his unforgettable season by besting two seniors.
"It's a really great feeling to win this tournament," said Koons, who holds a national ranking in his age group from the United States Tennis Association. "I knew I could win it, but I definitely knew there were guys in this tournament who could beat me."
Koons defeated both Nagle and Clark in previous matches this season, but the scores were much closer this time.
"They (Nagle and Clark) definitely played better," Koons said. "I think playing indoors this time (the first matches were played on outdoor courts) was a factor, because they're both big hitters. But, I was also able to get in some big serves, too."
Koons crushed seven aces and seven service winners in the championship match. He trailed, 5-4, in the second set, but won the next three games to close out the match.
"At 4-5, I knew the first two points of that game were big, so I really focused on them and played good points," Koons said.
To reach the final, Koons first had to turn back an upset-minded Nagle in the semifinals.
"I wasn't serving very well in that first set (five double faults)," Koons said. "I served much better and played better in the next two sets."
Koons' father, Dallastown Head coach Mark Koons, said his son didn't play great on Monday, but he competed well in the final four sets.
"He really gutted it out," Mark Koons said: "I know he's tired, but he dug down deep and found a second gear. This was probably the toughest challenge he had. Both Milo and Griffin stepped up their games, and Holden had barely just enough to get through."
In addition to the Clark's competitiveness, Koons praised the Manheim Township standout's courage. Clark is battling cancer.
"He had chemo last week," Koons said. "Griffin is a warrior. For him to come out and play like he did is impressive."
Having secured another impressive singles crown, Holden Koons will now turn his attention to team tennis. The Wildcats will take on Manheim Central at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday in the District 3-AAA quarterfinals at Hershey Racquet Club
Koons' next singles action will be on the biggest stage: the PIAA state championships. They're scheduled for May 27-28, on the same courts where the district tournament took place, the Hershey Racquet Club.
Reach Dick VanO'Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org.