Waccamaw’s Richmond named Toast of the Coast Boys Tennis Player of the Year

For The Sun NewsJune 11, 2012 

  • The team Toast of the Coast Player of the Year Harrison Richmond School | Waccamaw Class | Senior Notable | Finished his high-school career having never lost a match in South Carolina. This season, he went 11-0 in singles, 11-0 in doubles and won the Class AA/A state individual title. All-American, All-State and U.S. Davis Cup Team honoree. Helped Warriors to five team titles during his career. Signed with the University of Virginia. SINGLES Kyle Barr School | Socastee Class | Freshman Notable | Finished 9-0 in singles and 5-1 in doubles as Braves’ top overall player. Helped Socastee to Class AAA Lower State team finals and named Class AAA All-State. Finished as the runner-up in the individual state AAAA/AAA tournament. Coste Duvall School | Conway Class | Sophomore Notable | Tiger finished season with 11-4 singles record and 7-1 doubles record. Ranked No. 30 in USTA rankings for state for 16-year olds, and finished season in top 350 in USTA Southern rankings. Robert Conley School | Socastee Class | Junior Notable | Class AAA All-State honoree was also named to All-Region VIII-AAA First Team while playing in the Braves’ No. 2 singles spot. Went 4-2 in state AAAA/AAA singles tournament. Helped Socastee to Class AAA Lower State team finals. Matthew Fischer School | Waccamaw Class | Junior Notable | Finished third in the Class AA/A state singles tournament and went 16-4 on the season en route to being named an All-State honoree. Played primarily at the Warriors’ No. 3 singles spot. Helped Warriors to yet another Class AA/A team state title. Paul Hendrix School | Waccamaw Class | Seventh Notable | One of top-ranked players in state in his age level. Finished the season 10-3 and won the consolation championship of the Class AA/A state singles tournament. Named to All-State team, and played primarily at the team’s No. 2 singles spot. Jeffrey Dayton School | St. James Class | Eighth Notable | Combined singles and doubles record of 15-3, including a 10-2 showing in doubles matches for the Sharks. Nominated by Region VIII-AAA coaches for state singles tournament, although he was forced to withdraw due to injury. DOUBLES Coleman Martini, Jack Woodward School | Myrtle Beach Class | Sophomore, Junior Notable | As Seahawks’ No. 1, Martini was charged with playing most of the top talent in the area. Named All-Region VIII-AAA each of past two seasons, and a two-time Toast of the Coast honoree. Woodward, the Seahawks’ No. 2, was 8-7 overall in singles. Paired up to go 3-5 in doubles matches.

Area high school tennis players can finally breathe that sigh of relief.

The most dominant athlete in the sport over the course of the last four years has graduated.

Harrison Richmond, Waccamaw’s No. 1 singles player and The Sun News Toast of the Coast Boys Tennis Player of the Year, capped off his impressive high school career by going undefeated yet again. He’s off to the University of Virginia, and many of his regular opponents are glad to hear it.

“I heard it a couple times,” Richmond said. “I take pride in that reputation of winning. That’s why I work so hard.”

Richmond, who has spent four to five hours a day playing for the majority of his time in high school, has won practically every award he could at Waccamaw. In addition to three Toast of the Coast honors, he was also named to the high-school All-American squad and the South Carolina All-State team and earned a spot on the U.S. Davis Cup roster.

He never lost a match in South Carolina, including this season, when he was 11-0 in singles matches and 11-0 in doubles matches. Richmond, though, capped it all off by doing something he’d never done before.

Playing – and winning – the Class AA/A state individual tournament.

In prior years, USTA events around the country prevented him from accepting his bid. This year, he made it a priority.

“That was important, to him and to me,” Waccamaw coach James Brown said. “All of the other guys who went on to play Division I, they had all played. This year, he was in much more control of his schedule. He needed to do that. It worked out like we thought it would.

“It put an official ending to his high school career in a special way.”

It was, as Brown said, only further proof of the type of player Richmond was. The coach and player knew early on that he would win 99 percent of his matches simply by showing up. Opposing coaches and players knew it, too.

But winning wasn’t enough.

Richmond was setting himself up for that scholarship to Virginia and possibly even a professional career down the road. He continued that stringent training schedule despite the normal distractions associated with being a teenager.

“Usually, tennis players, when they get the gas and the gals – they have some freedom – they tend to balance out in their training,” Brown said. “When he was at that age, I said ‘Can he achieve this goal? Will he reach higher?’ He kept his foot on the gas.

“You never had to worry about what he was doing or where he was going. He was all in.”

Thankfully for the Warriors, that decision included Waccamaw. There was talk in the past of Richmond homeschooling in order to provide flexibility to his tennis training. However, that discussion faded, and earlier this month, he graduated from the high school.

“I liked representing my school and I wanted to win one more state championship,” he said. “It was definitely something I thought about. But it was a good decision. You don’t get any of these times back. It’s one of those things you have to enjoy.”

Contact IAN GUERIN at ian@ianguerin.com

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