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USTA SC Championship Season Begins on Hilton Head Island

April 28, 2014 03:58 PM

Each USTA league season, thousands of adults spend their nights and weekends trying to advance to USTA South Carolina state league championships.

Starting this week, we’ll find out which teams will end their seasons the strongest and become state champions in their respective divisions.

The seven-month USTA SC state league championship season starts Thursday on Hilton Head Island, with the Adult 75 and Over State League Championships getting underway. On Saturday, the Adult 55 and Over State League Championships also will begin on Hilton Head Island.

Altogether this year, 10 USTA SC state championships will be held all over the state, including five on Hilton Head Island.

“USTA SC has always enjoyed a close working relationship with the Hilton Head community,” said Cam Littlejohn, USTA SC board president. “The players have enjoyed the hospitality and attractions of this world-class resort community over the many years that the top-flight tennis facilities of Hilton Head have hosted our league championships and other tournaments.”

The Hilton Head Island economy also benefits from the positive relationship.

This weekend’s two state league championships alone will draw hundreds of players from all over the state to the area. When the players aren’t competing, they’ll be dining at the area’s restaurants, shopping at its businesses and staying at its resorts and hotels.

“We look forward to sharing our island and all it has to offer, above and beyond tennis,” said Jackie Reynecke, group coordinator at Palmetto Dunes, the host site of both championships.

There will be plenty of players for Hilton Head Island to entertain.

About 830 players will compete on 89 teams during the Adult 55 and Over State League Championships, which finishes Monday. During the 75 and over championships, about 175 men and women will compete on 17 teams.

The Adult 75 and Over State League Championships also brings distinction to South Carolina.

South Carolina is the only state in the nine-state USTA Southern Section that offers formal league play and state championships for its wisest players, those 75 and older.

Since the early 2000s, USTA SC has offered the 75 and over leagues and state championships, said Bonnie Sue Duncan, USTA SC state league coordinator for this weekend’s championships.

Many of the players in the division have overcome health scares and battled injuries to continue playing the game they love. They stride to the court with braces on their knees and wraps on their elbows. Yet they don’t complain a sentence about their situations.

“It’s amazing to see some of them play,” Duncan said.

Seeing players in their 70s and 80s still hustling on the court reminds Duncan what tennis is all about. “It is a lifelong sport,” she said.

Dan Cotter and his 75 and over team have made tennis the sport of a lifetime.

The ages of the players on his team range from 74 to 87, and all of them have been enjoying tennis for decades.

“Everybody at this age has physical issues,” said Cotter, who at age 74 is the youngest player on his team. “They do this in spite of what’s wrong.”

(He turns 75 later this year, making him eligible for the 75 and over competition.)

Cotter and his team from the Rock Hill area begin their championship play Thursday morning.

After this weekend’s championships, USTA SC will return to Hilton Head Island in October and November for more state league championships.

The USTA SC Combo Doubles State League Championships will take place from Oct. 16-20. The combo championships, the largest USTA SC state league championships, is expected to bring about 2,500 participants to Hilton Head Island during a slower time for the area’s tourism.

The 65 and Over and 70 and Over State League Championships are scheduled for Nov. 5-10 on Hilton Head Island as well.

“We look forward to many years of a continuing relationship with the players, volunteers and tennis coaches,” Littlejohn said.

Play sites for the Adult 55 and Over and 75 and Over State League Championships

Sea Pines Country Club, Moss Creek, Shipyard Plantation, The Country Club of Hilton Head, Palmetto Dunes Centre Court and Palmetto Dunes Tennis Center. Palmetto Dunes is the official host site and will host finals matches.

S.C. Areas Represented

75 and Over: Coastal Carolina Tennis Association, Bluffton, Beaufort and St. Helena Island; Tennis Association of Hilton Head Island; Mid-Carolina Tennis League, Rock Hill area; Upper Piedmont Tennis Association, Upstate; Lowcountry Tennis Association, Charleston and surrounding areas; Grand Strand Tennis League, Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas; Pee Dee Tennis League, Florence and surrounding areas.

55 and Over: Aiken Area Tennis League; Coastal Carolina Tennis Association; Columbia Tennis League; Foothills Tennis Association; Greenwood Area Tennis Association; Grand Strand Tennis League; Tennis Association of Hilton Head Island; Lexington Area Tennis Association; Lowcountry Tennis Association; Mid-Carolina Tennis League; Pee Dee Tennis League; Spartanburg Area Tennis League; Upper Piedmont Tennis Association.

USTA SC Adult 75 and Over State League Championships Schedule

3.0 Men

8 a.m., Thursday: Play begins.

8 a.m., Saturday: Finals.

3.5 Men – Round Robin with no finals

11 a.m., Thursday: Play begins.

8 a.m., Saturday: Play concludes.

3.5 Women – Round Robin with no finals

9:30 a.m., Thursday: Play begins.

9:30 a.m., Saturday: Play concludes.

USTA SC Adult 55 and Over State League Championships Schedule

3.0 Men

12:30 p.m., Saturday: Play begins.

11 a.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

3.5 Men

12:30 p.m., Saturday: Play begins.

12:30 p.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

4.0 Men

8 a.m., Saturday: Play begins.

12:30 p.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

9.0 Men – Round Robin with no finals

5 p.m., Friday: Play begins.

2 p.m., Monday, May 5: Play concludes.

3.0 Women

11 a.m., Saturday: Play begins.

12:30 p.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

3.5 Women

5 p.m., Saturday: Play begins.

2 p.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

4.0 Women

9:30 a.m., Saturday: Play begins.

2 p.m., Monday, May 5: Finals.

9.0 Women – Round Robin with no finals

11 a.m., Saturday, May 3: Play begins.

11 a.m., Monday, May 5: Play concludes.

 

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