High School Sports

USTA awards three Midlands players

A Midlands coach, a volunteer and a tennis association were among award winners at the annual ceremonies of the United States Tennis Association, South Carolina. Honored at the group's meeting in Myrtle Beach were:

Coach of the Year - John Rodgers, Chapin High School.

League volunteer - Sandra Grooms, Columbia Tennis League.

Community Tennis Association - Lexington Area Tennis Association.

For the second time, Hayley Carter, formerly of Columbia and now training at Hilton Head Island, was honored as Junior Girl Player of the Year.

Among other honorees were Mark Sari, Sumter, Community Service; Al Marshal, Aiken, Official of the Year; and Bobby Browning, Florence, Wilton McKinney Award.

State champs. Five Midlands players won titles at the South Carolina Jr. State Open Championship at The Citadel in Charleston Dec. 4-7.

Elgin's Curran Carver won singles and doubles titles in the Girls 14-under division, teaming with Rachel Sillman of Florence for the doubles championship. Madeline Welsh, of Columbia, won the Girls 16-under doubles title with partner Maria Voronina of Mount Pleasant. Brent Lett, of Elgin, won the Boys 16-under singles title, and Columbia brothers Charlie and Hampton Drake won the Boys 14-under doubles championship.

USC tourney. The University of South Carolina again will host the tournament that unofficially kicks off a new season of tennis in the Midlands.

The USC Indoor NTRP tournament will be played Jan. 3-11 at the university's facility on the corner of Whaley and Heyward streets.

Tournament director Arlo Elkins said the schedule has been expanded to include two weekends to help ease a backlog of matches that often pushed play late into the night.

Events include men's and women's 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, open and mixed doubles, as well as 50 years and over 3.0, 3.5, open and mixed doubles.

For more information, contact Elkins at (803) 782-8042. Entries must be received by Dec. 30.

Chili Challenge. Caughman Road Tennis Center is hosting its annual Chili Challenge Jan. 8 and 9.

Friday's tennis includes a mixed-doubles round robin, with players keeping the same partner the entire evening. On Saturday, separate men's and women's round robins will feature alternating partners.

Cost is $10 per event. Deadline to register is Jan. 6. For more information, call (803) 776-3250.

Rockbridge Classic. Rain was the big winner at the annual Rockbridge Classic, one of the largest adult tournaments held in the Midlands. A handful of events, originally scheduled for Nov. 18-22, have matches remaining, according to tournament director Sunny Reeves.

Winners of the events concluded were: women's 4.5: Victoria Moody and Salem Kirven; women's 4.0: Andrea Lanham and Vanessa Bankhead; women's 3.0: Corinna Kleemoff and Deborah Poston; women's 2.5: Paula Amick and June Barnes; men's 4.0: Richard Kemper and Ray Spence; men's 3.5: Lucas Berresford and Brian Tolley; men's 3.0: Ivo Vanderzipp and Jace Strickland; mixed 9.0: Jonathan Bankhead and Catherine Dunagan; mixed 7.0: Brian Tolley and Cricket Poston.

Topspin Special. Topspin Racquet and Swim Club in Lexington is dropping its initiation fee for those who join before Jan. 20. For more information, contact Judit Trunkos at (803) 951-8851.

USTA play. Registration for adult and senior leagues in Columbia has begun and will continue until Jan. 10. The spring seasons are set to begin the week of Feb. 8 or 15.


Jan. 15-17: Chick-Fil-A Winter Chill Challenge, Sumter Tennis Center, (803) 847-0182 or sumtertennis@aol.com.

Feb. 5-7: Richland County Futures, Richland County Tennis Center, (803) 788-3001 or rctc@rcrc.state.sc.us.

Feb. 12-14: Wildewood Junior Challenger, Wildewood Country Club, (803) 699-2446 or jhins1@aol.com.

Feb. 26-28: Spring Adult Championship, The Club at Rawls Creek, (803) 781-8330 or coldstreamrs@sc.rr.com.