Hannah Summerson takes after her mother in coaching

EVAN WHEATON/Sun-Gazette Montgomery coach Hannah Summerson, left, poses with her mother and South Williamsport tennis coach Theresa Summerson after Tuesday’s match between the two schools.

Theresa Summerson met her daughter Hannah at the fence. Hannah was in quite a bind against Loyalsock in singles, down 6-0, 5-1.

“What are you going to do?” Theresa asked the senior.

Hannah reassured her mother.

“Oh, I got this.”

She, indeed, had it. Hannah came back from the jaws of defeat and cemented a comeback on that autumn day back in 2015. Another day in the life.

Theresa saw Hannah’s confidence at home, on the court and everywhere in between ever since the latter first picked up a racket in kindergarten. High school, however, was where Hannah routinely had results like the Loyalsock match.

A two-team, second-team all-conference selection, Hannah helped South Williamsport secure two conference crowns and a district title in her four years with the Mounties.

“She was one of the most confident players I’ve ever coached,” Theresa said on Hannah’s varsity career. “I coached some girls who may have done better or were extremely good players, and Hannah was good too as well, but she just had a will to win, which was different from the girls I’ve coached.”

That will to win still hasn’t wavered. In her first year as the girls tennis coach at Montgomery, Hannah met her old school — and her mother — at the court in South Williamsport’s Community Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Despite a quick blank in No. 1 singles by Olivia Dorner — the senior sensation and No. 31 nationally ranked college recruit — Hannah’s new squad won, 4-1 in team score after.

“I think it’s a lot of fun, win or lose,” Hannah said following the match. “I wasn’t taking it too seriously.”

Theresa added, “It’s a camaraderie.”

While Theresa started coaching at South Williamsport the year before Hannah entered high school, the two come from a tennis family, and the court is a second home. That’s what makes the sport special for the Summersons.


“She coached me growing up and all throughout high school,” Hannah said on her mother’s influence in her development with tennis. “It was a lot of fun to have my mom there to watch every match I was in and coach you on and off the court.”

Like any relationship, it wasn’t always perfect. There were times where Hannah would have a rough game, get upset with her mother, the coach.

“A lot of times when I was frustrated, I’d be like, ‘I don’t want to speak to my own mom right now,'” Hannah said. “Sometimes I would talk to the assistant then in those moments, because it’s just easier to take my anger out on her probably.”

At Lycoming College, Hannah earned 12 MAC Commonwealth Player of the Week honors in women’s tennis — the most of any student-athlete at the institution. Hannah also broke the program record of 86 combined wins at the MAC Individual Championships her final year, and tied for the fourth-most wins in No. 1 doubles for Lycoming at 11-4 alongside Aubrey Chambers.

Theresa has coached four of her five children in tennis. This past summer, Hannah and her sister, Lily, competed in the Williamsport women’s tennis league and won in doubles.

“It’s been a lot of fun for me to share it with them, and to enjoy something that I’ve enjoyed for most of my life,” Theresa said on the family’s involvement in the game. “To see them enjoying it and going out playing for fun, it’s a lifetime sport, so I’m really happy for them.”

Montgomery now sits at 6-1 after Tuesday with Hannah heading the program. The Red Raiders have just one team loss (Loyalsock).

Theresa was with her daughter on the same side of the fence this time, five years after that comeback. The determination, that will to win, can be seen in the next generation for Montgomery.

“I’m super proud of her. She’s done a great job at keeping this team going,” Theresa said on the start of Hannah’s coaching career. “Nice big group of girls she has. They’re all playing with good form and technique, which means she’s doing a good job too.”


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