This weekend marks the start of the 59th annual Palmetto Championships in Belton. The tennis tournament, which runs through Tuesday, is a national qualifying tournament for juniors in the state, with 425 players registered for this edition.
Players will compete in five age divisions, with some of the top players in the Palmetto State competing in 10U, 12U, 14U, 16U and 18U divisions. Tournament play opens Friday with the first round of 10U play, with the other age divisions kicking off Saturday.
Some of the Lowcountry's best will be on hand for the event, with players from Hilton Head Island and Bluffton taking part. Among the top seeds are Jackson Armistead (boys 12U, Hilton Head), Mary Grace Armistead (girls 12U Hilton Head), Sara McClure (girls 14U, Bluffton) and Beau Pelletier (boys 18U, Hilton Head). McClure is a defending champion.
Other Lowcountry standouts seeded in the tournament are Sayda Hernandez (girls 14U, Hilton Head), Madison Dillon (girls 16U, Hilton Head), Elizabeth Williams (girls 18U, Hilton Head), Mary McNeal (girls 18U, Beaufort) and Jacqueline Pelletier (girls 18U, Hilton Head).
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"Some of our top state players are off playing a national tournament," tournament director Rex Maynard said in a news release. "We miss having them here, but we've got most of the best players in the state competing, and there will be some great tennis to see. We encourage everyone to come out and support these young people during the tournament."