Yup’ik teen tennis star advances to State finals for second year in a row

Region 6 Tennis Championships Girls Singles winner is Helen Lorrie Kiarcimalria Wharton of Fairbanks. Photo courtesy of Matt Wharton

by Delta Discovery Staff

Helen Lorrie Wharton of Lathrop High School won first place at the regional tennis tournament in Fairbanks and will advance to the State Championship tennis tournament for the second year in a row. She is the daughter of Matt and Merna Lomack Wharton of Fairbanks and has roots in Akiachak and Kwethluk.

Helen’s Yup’ik name is Kiarcimalria. Her mom Merna, who was a star basketball player for the Huskies during her high school years, is originally of Akiachak. Helen’s grandmother is originally from Kwethluk.

During the Region 6 Tennis championships in Fairbanks September 20-24 which was hosted by West Valley High School at the Dan Ramras Community Tennis Courts, Helen won against Klara Kondrak, winning 6-1, 6-3. She is coached by Airforce 1st Lieutenant Tracy Landram.

Helen is a junior this year. She began participating in tennis when she was a freshman.

“She made it to state after only playing for two months,” said Dad Matt Wharton. “Her best asset on the tennis court is her willingness to fight for every ball. She has a true hunter’s precision when lining up her shots.”

This past summer, Helen was also coached by Tom Robert Barnes in Lake Tahoe, California. Her grandma Kathleen Louise Wharton brought her to tournaments in Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada.

At regionals Helen had a cheering section which included her aunt Anita Krohe. Anita cheered for her in Yugtun said Matt, “Ampi ampi, irugken murilkellukek! Come on, come on, pay attention to your feet!”

If you are in Anchorage, you can cheer for her at the state tennis finals. Helen will be playing at the 2019 Tennis State Championships on Thursday and Friday, October 10-11th, 2019 at the Alaska Club East. The tournament is hosted by the Alaska Schools Activities Association, Alaska Club, and South Anchorage High School.

“She plans to do well in the upcoming State Tournament,” said Matt.

Best wishes to you at State!