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Charleston Delivers Sensational 25th Southern Sectional Championships!

August 5, 2005 10:29 AM

by Marilyn Sherman, USTA Southern Section Director of Adult Tennis

Charleston, SC is lauded as a historic and charming destination city. The 2,038 players who came here to compete at the 2005 USA League Tennis Southern Sectional Championships thoroughly enjoyed all that Charleston has to offer both on and off the court.

Congratulations to the 23 teams that will represent Southern at the National Championships! All 214 State Champion and wildcard teams that competed in Charleston were congratulated for representing the 100,000 players that play locally each year. Of those, 16,000 players advance to their State Championships. The 2,038 players in Charleston made the “world’s largest tennis tournament”, the largest yet! The 250 players that will travel to Palm Springs, Tucson and Las Vegas will make Southern PROUD and some will return as National Champions!!

Kris Geroux, member of the Starkville, MS Men's 3.0 team, became the first wheelchair player to compete in an Adult Southern Section Championship.

The efforts of the local Charleston Host Committee began over two years ago and culminated in ten days of tennis with lots of sightseeing, dining, shopping and two unforgettable player beach parties to complete the Charleston “experience.” David Jennings, Chairman of the Charleston Tennis Commission, led the local committee which also included Rob Eppelsheimer (Director of Tennis Operations at Family Circle Tennis Center), Bob Peiffer (Charleston’s Local League Coordinator), Ron Charron (SC’s Senior State League Coordinator), Charla McDonald (Charleston CVB) and Jeanne Aichel Jamme (Charleston CVB). The committee was assisted throughout the event by more than 130 local tennis volunteers who gave the players a wonderful taste of Charleston hospitality. Robin Reynolds, PR Director for the Family Circle Cup assisted in local media coverage and Peggy Caulder provided the event merchandise.

This event is a tremendous financial undertaking and Charleston’s committee secured the civic support of The Town of Mount Pleasant, The City of Charleston, Charleston County, Berkely County, and The City of Isle of Palms. Corporate sponsors included Low Country Tennis Association, Howard B. Jones & Sons, Lee Distributors, Piggly Wiggly, Image Network, Just Fresh, and Trident Health Care.

The event coincided with the opening of the beautiful new landmark Arthur Ravenal Bridge that is vividly displayed from many vantage points. The bridge is one of many scenic highlights that the players took in during their time off the courts. Their time on the courts was just as scenic as the six sites offered beautiful tennis facilities at Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island Club, Mount Pleasant Tennis Center, Snee Farm Country Club, College of Charleston and Creekside Tennis Center. Additional facilities were offered as backup facilities at the Charleston Tennis Center and St. Andrews and the Citadel. Special thanks to Dewey Caulder, Christy Cherry, Stuart Smalls, Robert Haydock and Jimmy Millar for their management of these facilities during play.

USTA President Franklin Johnson, center, with Mike Finley and Rob Eppelsheimer from the Family Circle Tennis Center.

USTA President Franklin Johnson and the USTA Board of Directors surprised the captains at the first half captain's meeting with a special address recognizing the 25th Anniversary of USA League Tennis and Southern’s role in making this program the world’s largest recreational tennis league! The USTA Board of Directors include Vice Presidents Lucy Garvin from Greenville, SC and Gordon Smith from Atlanta, GA.


USTA Southern President Jeff Gray, Executive Vice President Judy Utley, USTA Delagate Judi Miller and Officer in Charge of Leagues Dudley Stewart, and Vice Presidents Helen Jeter and Rex Maynard also attended the first half activities including the incredible player party on the beach at the Hilton at Patriots Point. The party featured a low country boil, great music by the Coconut Groove Band and a beach ball dash for door prizes and was enjoyed by over 700 players and guest each half!

Southern’s tournament staff for this event was superbly led by Dodie Hanchett as Tournament Chairperson and included Adult League Committee Chairman Bud Spencer and members Phil Meador, Sue Anne Stuntz, Bee Stewart, and Bonnie Vandegrift; Sectional Championships Subcommittee member Steve Grooms, State League Coordinators Jerrie Ciza (AL), Sharon Shellabarger (AR), Dave Bain (GA), Elizabeth Bowling (KY), Wray Logan (LA), Ronnie Bates (MS), Nell Barksdale (NC), Mary Goins (SC) and Karl Keesecker (TN). Mary Anna Scott and Pat Staley also served as site directors. Donna Bailey from Macon, GA has served as our supreme Tournament Referee for many years. Southern Staff at the event included Marilyn Sherman, Dene Owen, Bill Oakes, Hal Regi, Marc Kaplan, Holly Blount, and Melissa Neukam. This team of volunteers and staff worked hand in hand with the local committee and volunteers to ensure that the players and their guests made the most of their time in Charleston!

Kudos to Charleston for hosting such an exceptional event! The players truly enjoyed the tennis facilities (a few even played on stadium court at Family Circle Cup!) They also appreciated the “Dine Around Charleston” nights where restaurants offered free appetizers, desserts or a glass of wine to all players with a Tournament Badge. The setting at the beach parties under the “silvery moon” was a highlight to all who kicked off their shoes and danced in the sand!

We look forward to returning to Charleston next year, July 21-30 for the 2006 USA League Tennis Southern Sectional Championships. Six cities have submitted bids for the 2007 & 2008 events: Baton Rouge, LA, Chattanooga, TN, Gwinnett County, GA, Mobile, AL, New Orleans, LA and Pelham, AL.

Congratulations to all 2,038 players who competed at the 2005 USA League Tennis Southern Sectional Championships!

Please visit the tournament's official website at www.southernleaguetennis.com to review the final scores and standings, see the photos and read about the players and teams who competed in this great event.

 

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