On the spot

Midlands players garner awards

Special to The StateDecember 27, 2012 

Christmas has come and gone, but like the gift that keeps on giving, there’s plenty of tennis going on in the Midlands. It’s the award season for USTA South Carolina, and four residents of the Columbia area have won awards.

Hayley Carter received the Wilton McKinney award, which is given to a junior player who best exemplifies traits of Wilton McKinney: outstanding play, exemplary sportsmanship, positive attitude, dedicated work ethic and community/school support. Ben Horst was given the Junior Boy Sportsmanship award for his outstanding conduct in junior tournaments.

John Sheffield, who has served as executive director for USTA South Carolina for 14 years, will retire at the end of 2012. As the longest serving executive director of the organization, Sheffield will leave a lasting legacy with USTA SC by setting a strong course for the association, which will benefit tennis players for years to come. In Sheffield’s tenure, the organization’s budget nearly tripled and it’s membership increased by 10,000.

Jorge Andrew and Jim Hinson were inducted into the S.C. Tennis Patrons Hall of Fame on Dec. 8 in a ceremony at the Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms. As the director of tennis for the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission, Andrew has overseen phenomenal growth in tennis in the Midlands, including the recent opening of the Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center.

Hinson is a top player in USTA age division tournaments. He has been ranked No. 1 in USTA South Carolina’s men’s 30s, 40s, 45s, 50s, and 55s age divisions. He has been a member of the USTA South Carolina Southern Senior Cup team for more than two decades and helped the team win the past two years. Hinson has been the director of tennis for the Members Club at Woodcreek and Wildewood for the past 26 years.

USTA League and Jr. Team Tennis registration will be opening soon. This is especially significant for adult players as the USTA will be implementing new age divisions for 2013, which might cause disruption among existing teams.

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