The 2012 Chick-fil-A Palmetto Championships was played June 2 - June 7 at Belton Tennis Center in Belton, South Carolina. The tournament hosted boys and girls 18 and under from the state of South Carolina.
This is the 56th year the Palmetto Championships have been run in Belton and Anderson. The 2012 Palmetto Championships was full of excitement with several records tied and broken and one player receiving the 2012 Dunlop Scholarship.
The Palmetto Championships is a junior qualifier and South Carolina closed tournament that has been hosted since 1957. This year’s tournament was sponsored by Chick-fil-A of Anderson, Dunlop, Wells Fargo, Smith Stearns Tennis Academy, Pepsi and Play Safe. Being a closed tournament, the Palmetto Championships is restricted to residents of South Carolina only and the draws were limited to 64 players in most brackets.
2012 Palmetto Championships girl’s singles champions:
10 and Under: Calissa Dellabarca (Blythewood)
12 and Under: Emma Navaro (Charleston)
14 and Under: McKenna Jones (Greenville)
16 and Under: Rachael McNeely (Westminster)
18 and Under: Haley Carter (Columbia)
2012 Palmetto Championships boy’s singles champion:
10 and Under: William Ross (Sullivan’s Island)
12 and Under: Brant Fenno (Mt. Pleasant)
14 and Under: Specer Brown (Spartanburg)
16 and Under: Hampton Drake (Hilton Head Island)
18 and Under: Chris Cox (Myrtle Beach)
At this year’s awards ceremony after the conclusion of the singles finals, three sportsmanship awards were presented. The Kimberly Hampton Memorial Sportsmanship Award designated for a 12 and under girl was given to Elise Mills of Prosperity, SC. Mills finished her tournament run with a 3rd place in singles. The Matthew Strange Memorial Sportsmanship Award designated for a 12 and under boy went to Sam Kavarana of Charleston, SC. Kavarana placed 6th in singles.
The overall tournament award, the Malloy Evans Memorial Sportsmanship Award, went to Thomas Spratt of Charleston, SC, a participant in the Boys' 18 and under. Spratt finished the tournament with 7th place in singles and he also was a finalist in doubles.
The 2012 Palmetto Championships lacked no excitement with several records either being broken or tied. Spencer Brown of Spartanburg won his 5th consecutive singles title, tying the boys' record, which is currently held by four other players. Chip Cox of Myrtle Beach returned to Belton to win his 4th straight 18 and under singles championship, a feat accomplished only twice in the previous 56 years (Jean Evans of Belton in 1960-63 and Chuck Hodgin of Sumter in 1974-77). Haley Carter of Columbia won both the 18 and under singles and doubles to give her an impressive 14 Palmetto titles to break Janice Durden's record for girls of 13 between 1984 and 1991.
Johnson Wins Dunlop Scholarship
Thomas Johnson of Greenville was named the recipient of the 2012 Dunlop Scholarship during the 18 and under party Monday evening in Belton. Johnson graduated from Christ Church School in Greenville where he played the #1 singles position the past 6 years. He was a three-time team MVP and four-time All State Player, as well as an Eagle Scout. Thomas will be attending Washington & Lee University this fall.
The Palmetto Championships is a Southern level 3 and a South Carolina level 1 sanctioned tournament hosting intense competition from the best juniors in South Carolina. The top eight finalists in each division of the Palmetto Championships will move onto the Southern Closed Championships.
Dates for the Southern Closed Championships are as follows; boys and girls 10 and under will be June 15-18, boys and girls 12 and under will be June 16-20, and boys and girls 14’s, 16’s, and 18’s will be June 16-23.