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Belton Tennis News

63rnd Palmetto Championships
May 24 - 27, 2019

Action PhotoThe Palmetto Championships, presented by Chick-fil-A of Anderson, was hosted by the Belton Tennis Association for the 63rd straight year May 24-27. Over 465 players participated over 3 1/2 days on 55 courts in Belton, Anderson and Clemson.

After rain in 2018, the tournament experienced extreme heat this year with high temperatures of at least 95 degrees every day. The tournament committee opted to go to no-ad scoring in the feed-in consolation to shorten the potential length of matches. Under the new format to finish on Monday afternoon some players were required to play 3 singles matches in one day. Championships were determined for boy and girls in singles and doubles in 5 age categories.

Players from the upstate came out with the most singles championships with 6. Players from the midlands captured 1 title and the coast 3 titles. Several other honors and awards were presented by the tournament. The Dunlop Scholarship went to John Edward Cahill from Conway, a recent graduate of Myrtle Beach High School who will attend the Citadel this fall. Three sportsmanship awards were also presented:

  • Action PhotoMalloy Evans Memorial Sportsmanship Award - Eleanor Campbell, Daniel Island
  • Matthew Strange Memorial Sportsmanship Award - Liam Payne, Taylors
  • Kimberly Hampton Memorial Sportsmanship Award - Katie Godfree, Myrtle Beach

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Archived Photos & Details of Previous Palmetto Championships Tournaments


S. C. Men's Collegiate Championships
October 5-7, 2018

LanderThe 2018 South Carolina Men's Collegiate Tennis Championships were played for the fifth year in Belton October 5-7. Furman's Ivan Mitric lead the way capturing the singles title and partnering with James Roelofse to win the doubles championship.

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Archived Photos & Details of Previous South Carolina Men's Collegiate Tennis Invitational Tennis Invitational


AC Flora Wins 32nd Hall of Fame Classic Tennis

2016 Hall of Fame Classic - Group PhotoAC Flora of Columbia won 4 flights and finished second in 2 others to earn 31 points and edge out TL Hanna of Anderson and capture their first Chick-fil-A Hall of Fame Classic played in Belton September 29-30. T L Hanna won 1 flight and finished second in 4 flights to score 27 points and second place. Elise Mills of Mid-Carolina was part of 2 flight championships (#1 singles and doubles) to score 12 of Mid-Carolina's 18 points, good for fourth place. J L Mann captured one flight championship and finished third with 22 points.

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Archived Photos & Details of Previous Hall of Fame Classics


Belton Tennis Tournaments

The Belton Tennis Association will host four major tournaments during 2019.

  • Palmetto Championships presented by Chick-fil-A of Anderson May
  • Special Populations Unified Doubles (SPUD) in July
  • South Carolina Men's Collegiate Championships in September
  • Chick-fil-A of Anderson Hall of Fame Classic in October

The Palmetto Championships is the South Carolina junior qualifying tournament and has been played in Belton since 1957. Players who do well in the Palmetto advance on to the Southern and National championships. The tournament attracts 430 of the state's top junior players. Championships are determined for both boys and girls in 5 different age divisions (10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U). The Palmetto was recognized with the 2016 9-state USTA Southern Jim Russell Junior Tournament of the Year Award. More Information on the 2017 Palmetto may be accessed by clicking on the different headings to the left on this page.

Special Populations Unified Doubles (SPUD) features special athletes playing with unified partners in team competition. The tournament is sponsored by the USTA Southern Adaptive Committee and was started in 2010. Over 50 special athletes are expected to participate in the 2-day event. Players come from South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

The Chick-file-A Hall of Fame Classic began in 1987 and features 8 of the states's top high school girls teams. Players compete as individuals in their respective flights (1 through 5 singles and 1 & 2 doubles) and wins earn points for their team. Christ Church is the defending team champion.

The South Carolina Men's Collegiate Championships began in 2014 and is played in memory of long time local tennis volunteer and official Jim Russell. Varsity players from state colleges play to determine South Carolina singles and doubles champions.

The Belton Tennis Association operates the 5-court Belton Tennis Center and offers facilities, programs, lessons and clinics throughout the year. The courts are available for public use at no charge both day and night.


Palmetto Championships Receives 2016 Southern Award

Big Jim Russell AwardThe Palmetto Championships was named the 2016 USTA Southern Jim Russell Junior Tournament of the Year. The award was presented during the USTA Southern Awards Luncheon in Atlanta in January. The USTA Southern Section includes 9 states. The Palmetto, which is played over Memorial Day weekend, celebrated it's 60th anniversary in Belton last year with over 430 players. The tournament is sponsored by Chick-fil-A of Anderson and serves as the national qualifying tournament for junior players in South Carolina. This was the third time the Palmetto has been recognized with this award, but long time Tournament Director Rex Maynard said this was the most meaningful: "We appreciate the support of our staff, officials, sponsors, community and players. Chick-fil-A of Anderson is a wonderful title sponsor. They offer much more Tournment Director Rex Maynardthan funds and product...they offer their support before, during and after the event. They are a great partner and a big part of our success. This is the third time the Palmetto has been recognized with this honor, but this is by far the most meaningful and the first time since the award was named in memory of Big Jim Russell. Jim was the Referee of the Palmetto for over 35 years, and he had so much to do with making the event the success it is today. We look forward to continuing this South Carolina tennis tradition for many more years in Belton, and we accept this award with gratitude for and in memory of Big Jim."


Belton Tennis Association Receives
State and Section Recognition

2013-14 BTA President Hack ClinkscalesThe Belton Tennis Association has been selected to receive the 2014 Community Tennis Association of the Year by both the United States Tennis Association South Carolina and the 9-state Southern Section.

BTA, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, was formed as the Belton Tennis Club in 1954 and assumed management and upkeep of the town courts and began to sponsor an annual Anderson County tournament. Later the tournament expanded to five nearby counties and was known as the Piedmont Championships, and in 1957 it became the Palmetto Open, now the Palmetto Championships, and has been played in Belton every year since. The Palmetto became the state's junior qualifying tournament in the early 1970's, making it the strongest and largest junior tournament in the state. The Palmetto is also the largest sporting event in Anderson County.

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Archived Photos & Details of Previous SPUD (Special Populations Unified Doubles) Tournaments


Belton, South Carolina: Free public tennis but not during church
Article reprinted with permission from Tennis stories,
July 22, 2012

Stories of people's lives in tennis

Click for larger viewFirst Baptist Church of Belton owns the land across the street, where the Belton Tennis Center is located. The church leases the property for $500 a year to the privately funded public Tennis Center, where anyone from anywhere can play anytime for free on the courts, any day of the year. Except Sunday before noon.

“You can’t play while church is going on,” said Rex Maynard, who runs Maynard’s Home Furnishings nearby. “I’ve walked out of the Baptist church some morning and somebody’s over there playing tennis. And I’m over there saying, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t play till after noon.’

“Somebody from out of town doesn’t know. They don’t mean any harm. They just saw tennis courts and went and played.”

Maynard (above in red, with Drew Durden at the Special Populations Unified Doubles [SPUD] tournament in Belton) began playing tennis at 8 years old.

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