Elicia Aponte’s high school athletics career began unlike most. Her freshman year, she attended the Canadian International School of Beijing in Beijing, China, where she played soccer, volleyball and basketball. Aponte’s family was in China for her mom’s work as a Department of Defense civilian.
Aponte is now a senior captain for the Broadneck High School tennis team and wrapping up her third season for the Bruins.
“From an athletics standpoint, the move was not difficult because the sports there weren’t that intense, and I didn’t make as close of bonds as I did in my three years at Broadneck,” Aponte said.
While she didn’t play tennis her freshman year, Aponte credits her return to Maryland for getting her back to the sport that she has now played for 12 years.
“I had been playing tennis since I was five, but when I went to China, I stopped playing because I wasn’t very fond of the coaching,” Aponte added.
Thankfully, Aponte and Kathy Perrotta, head coach of Broadneck High School’s varsity tennis team, have a great rapport. Perrotta shared how the Bruins captain has always been a positive leader and a hard worker — not just during the season, but also in the offseason.
“ always running warm-ups at the beginning of the practice and stretches at the end,” Perrotta said. “She will take the ball and follow through on whatever I ask her to do … without complaining!”
Aponte plays girls doubles and mixed doubles, which is her favorite part of tennis, along with cheering on her team.
In 2022, along with Rebecca Terry, she won the county doubles championship. Aponte was also part of a duo with Charlie Ernst that captured a regional title in mixed doubles.
The duo dynamic works best for Aponte as she feels that she’s a better doubles player overall.
“I’ve become extremely more comfortable in the movement of it, and my awareness of myself on the court is a lot better as well,” Aponte said.
Further, the doubles’ track helps the mental part of her game.
“Doubles also encourages me to stay out of my own head, as I have someone to back me up,” Aponte added.
A team-oriented player, Aponte has suffered adversity in the injury department. Her junior year, she sprained her left ankle but returned to the court after missing only two matches. Aponte sprained her right ankle during her senior campaign the day before her first match and missed all of the in-season matches except the last three.
Commenting on the most recent sprain, Aponte said, “It was the worst one I’ve had.”
One of Aponte’s goals for her senior season was to help beat her team’s rival, Severna Park High School.
“Although I was injured and out for most of the season, we did end up beating them in the season,” Aponte said.
The Falcons eventually won the county championship with the Bruins coming in second place.
Aponte didn’t let it get her down. She rallied, and, along with Ernst, captured another regional title in mixed doubles. Aponte and Ernst’s match was also the deciding match in the Bruins’ overall regional title win. Broadneck beat Annapolis in the semifinals, then played Severna Park and won in the third set tiebreaker.
In the state tournament, Aponte and Ernst advanced to the finals, finishing as runners-up to Sky Carter and Brady MacBride of Walter Johnson High School.
After high school, Aponte is slated to attend Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, to study biology on the pre-med route. She will continue her passion and aims to play collegiate tennis. Aponte hopes to eventually attend medical school with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.
“I’m not sure what exactly I want to do in the pediatric world, but I do know that I want to work with children, and I want to be a doctor working in the medical field,” Aponte said.
In partnership with Wyble Team of Century 21, the Voice’s Student-Athlete of the Month series recognizes the many student-athletes in our area who make an impact not necessarily by way of statistics or stardom, but by their unique contributions. Contact Zach Sparks at email@example.com to nominate a young person in our community making a positive impact through sports.