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2013 USTA South Carolina Award Winners Announced

Ansley Speaks

A Columbia volunteer who has helped more juniors get into tennis; a Charleston teaching professional who brings contagious energy to her program; and a Greenville girl who won 100 matches during the last 12 months.

Those individuals and about 20 other tennis players, officials and volunteers have been named recipients of the 2013 USTA South Carolina annual awards.

“We are so fortunate to have such people and organizations dedicated to promoting and developing tennis,” said Graham Cox, executive director of the USTA South Carolina. "Their accomplishments proudly contribute to our tennis history, yet their true achievement can be seen through the people and communities impacted by their passion and service."

The recipients are:

Adaptive Tennis Volunteer of the Year: Carroll Dent of Columbia
Carroll Dent is an instructional assistant for special-education classrooms at River Bluff High School in the Lexington School District One. She helps teach tennis to the students during their health and fitness and physical education courses, she said. Dent, herself, has played tennis for 30 years.

Adult Female Player of the Year: Marissa Chapin of Myrtle Beach
Chapin was a member of the South Carolina Senior Cup 35 and older team, which won their division at the competition held in June in Huntsville, Ala. Her Adult 18 and Over 5.0 league out of LCTA captured the State League Title, then went on to win the Southern League Championship, earning a trip to Nationals.

Adult Male Player of the Year: Andy Steingold of Summerville
Steingold finished 2012 with an 18-2 record, his only two losses coming in Southern and National tournaments to ranked opponents. He has had a strong 2013 as well.

Adult Senior Tournament of the Year: Adult 18 & Over Championship Tournament in Aiken
Aiken hosted the tournament this year with much success. The tournament had 64 courts available to host the 111-team tournament and nearly 1,200 players.

Coach of the Year: Joey Eskridge
Eskridge, the head coach for the men’s and women’s teams at Anderson University, has led his teams to conference championships and has mentored the athletes to become successful off the court as well. “He has been responsible for many junior players getting to the highest level of college tennis,” said John Boetsch, associate head coach at Clemson University. “Joey is and has been a huge asset for tennis and will continue to be for many years to come.”

Community Service Award: Kim Ozmon of Rock Hill
Ozmon, tennis coordinator for the Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, has helped recruit the more than 440 members of the Rock Hill Tennis Center. She also helps schedule courts for more than 80 USTA Teams, organizes programs for more than 200 kids and oversees the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit women’s tournament.

Community Tennis Association of the Year: Florence Tennis Association
Ernie James, president of FTA, said the group’s partnership with the City of Florence especially helps it grow the game of tennis. Together, the all-volunteer association and the city will have put on at least eight tournaments this year, including the South Carolina Jr. Team Tennis State Championships, the Adult Mixed Doubles State Championships and two high school tennis tournaments.

Company of the Year: Chick-Fil-A of Anderson
This year, the business sponsored many tournaments in Anderson, including the Palmetto Championships, the Hall of Fame Classic and the Special Population Unified Doubles tournament.

John Newcombe Pro of the Year: Toni Young of Charleston
Young, the teaching professional at the Maybank Tennis Center, has helped hundreds of kids and adults learn to love tennis. Young also has helped increase league play at Maybank by helping form new teams and encouraging new players to join.

Jr. Team Tennis Volunteer of the Year: Toni Odom of Columbia
Odom has organized the Columbia Tennis League’s Jr. Team Tennis for the past year. During that year, she has brought several teams back on board and helped grow the league by almost 25 percent. She also has reached out to public parks officials and successfully negotiated court space.

Junior Boy Player of the Year: Adam Steryous of Taylors
Steryous, who now attends Furman University, was ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 18 in the Southern section during 2012. This year, he is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the Southern section. He posted a 74-34 record during the last 12 months.

Junior Girl Player of the Year: Makenna Jones of Greenville
Jones was the No. 1 ranked girl in the state and No. 5 in the Southern section. She has a 100-29 record during the past 12 months. She also won the Richland County Junior Championships in the 18 and Under Division.

Junior Tournament of the Year: K-Swiss Kiawah Island Junior Championship
The tournament hosted 636 matches in two days, featuring nearly 300 players. About 90 percent of the players participated in doubles as well. Participants also frequently complimented the staff on their friendliness and helpfulness.

Most Improved Junior Boy of the Year: Scotty Cameron of Isle of Palms
Cameron improved his 16 and Under South Carolina ranking from No. 13 in 2012 to No. 3 in 2013. He also was a finalist at the Greensboro March Madness Junior Championships and won the South Carolina Junior Hardcourt State Championship.

Kimberly Hampton Most Improved Junior Girl of the Year: Brittney Desmond of Columbia
Desmond was ranked No. 26 in the 16 and Under Girls South Carolina rankings. This year, she has ascended to No. 9 in the state and No. 87 in the Southern section. In the last 12 months, she has posted a 47-15 record.

League Volunteer of the Year: Jackie Reynecke of Hilton Head Island
 Reynecke has been a local league coordinator for more than seven years. She also volunteers while serving as president of the Tennis Association of Hilton Head Island.

Mark Hodgin Junior Boy Sportsmanship Award: Phillip Jordan of Spartanburg
Phillip, who plays in the 12 & Under division, won the singles and doubles at the Palmetto Championships. He also is ranked No. 1 in the state and in the South. Phillip also won sportsmanship awards from the Palmetto Championships and the Boys 12 National Championships in Arkansas.

Mark Hodgin Junior Girl Sportsmanship Award: Emily Erickson of Simpsonville
During tournament and high school matches, Emily has never shown anything but exemplary sportsmanship on- and off-the-court. She now plays tennis at Wofford College.

Member Facility  of the Year: Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center
The annual award is the second recent honor for the facility, which is supported by the Lexington County Recreation and Aging Commission. The center also has received the 2013 USTA Featured Facility Award, USTA’s highest honor for tennis facilities.

Official of the Year: Bob Keivit of Columbia
Keivit coordinates the officials mentoring program, which pairs new officials with experienced officials. He also has served as a chair umpire for Intercollegiate Tennis Association matches and frequently assists with junior tournaments.

Tennis Family of the Year: The Floyd family of St. George
Nicole, a beginning adult player, Emily, a high school and 18 and Under Jr. Team Tennis player, and Blair, a high school and 14 and Under Jr. Team Tennis player, all help tennis. While Emily and Blair play matches and show stellar sportsmanship, Nicole volunteers at the St. George Tennis Center as a concessions coordinator and court monitor.

Wilton McKinney Award: Ansley Speaks of Simpsonville
Speaks, who now attends Furman University, was selected as a high school tennis all-American. She was a four-time South Carolina high school state champion and a three-time state high school team champion. Speaks also won the sportsmanship award at the USTA National Open in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The Wilton McKinney Award is given to a junior player who best exemplifies the traits of Wilton McKinney: outstanding play, exemplary sportsmanship, positive attitude, dedicated work ethic and community and school support.

 

The awards will be handed out at the USTA SC’s Awards Luncheon, held this year on December 7 during the organization’s annual conference at the Wild Dunes Resort at the Isle of Palms. For ticket information, contact Victoria Smith at smith@sctennis.com.

Nominations from anyone are accepted until Sept. 1. A seven-person committee reviews the nominations and selects the winners, which are approved by the USTA South Carolina President of the Board and Executive Director.

 

 

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