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Bronwyne Mellott wins 4th straight district gold

Just call her the District 5 Girls Tennis Queen.

For the fourth straight year, McConnellsburg's Bronwyne Mellot is the district champion. She collected a straight-set victory over Bedford's Allison Shuke to earn her fourth gold medal.

"This feeling is kind of hard to explain," Mellott said. "It's a pretty remarkable feeling. You ask yourself, how many people can say they've won districts in one sport all four years? It feels pretty good."

It was an up-and-down day for the District 5 tennis superstar.

An obvious favorite heading into the tournament, Mellott was tested early by Emily Ruhlman, of Bedford. But the No. 1-seeded Mellott escaped with a 10-7 victory.

"I think it just comes from me not really playing matches before I get to districts," Mellott said. "I get nervous, so my first match is like my warm-up match. Also, going in having won three district titles in a row, you're kind of expected to win, so that added to the nerves."

The challenge didn't last long, though, as Mellott breezed through her semifinal match, never dropping a game. She defeated Somerset's Emily Costea, 10-0, before moving on to Shuke, whom Mellott has faced in all four of her district runs.

Much like her first two matches, Mellott's final championship match was a roller coaster. She toughed out her first set against Shuke, posting a 6-4 victory, before dominating her way to a 6-2 win and the district gold medal.

This is the second year in a row that Mellott has defeated Shuke in the final.

"Allison is a very consistent player, so I knew she was going to get everything back," Mellott said. "Our match seemed like it was going on forever because some of our points were really long. Last year was the same way; spectators probably thought it was like watching paint dry, but that's just how it played out. It came down to who was going to make the mistake first."

The win puts Mellott back in the PIAA Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 5 at Hershey Racquet Club. She will be looking to avenge last year's early exit. As a freshman and sophomore, Mellott earned silver medals at states, but last year, she suffered a first-round defeat.

"I'm going to try to get some more matches in; that's my goal to be more prepared for states," Mellott said. "I think my serves are looking a lot better, and my advantage is I love playing indoors. It's a lot faster, and that's my game. I'm going to go in with a positive mindset, knowing it's my last year, and just give it my all."