Two of Hilton Head's best young tennis players made their mark at a national tournament last month.
Sean Sculley, a Smith Stearns Academy product, won the singles championship at the Sweet 16 National Championships in Delray Beach, Fla. Sculley competed in the 16-and-under division. The event features the top 16 players nationally at each age division, meaning Sculley had to beat the best of the best.
To top it off, Sculley also reached the doubles final. Sculley didn't drop a set in four singles matches, defeating No. 3 seed Mac Kiger 6-0, 6-1 in the final. Sculley said his serve was working well for him and that he faced a lot of tough matches, even if the score indicated otherwise.
Fellow Smith Stearns student Robert Loeb won the National Select Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla. Loeb was competing in the boys 18's division. Loeb defeated No. 1 seed Andrew Heller in the round of 32 and rallied for a 6-7, 6-2, 10-7 win over Alex Phillips in the final. That victory made it three tournament wins in a row for Loeb, who also captured a Level 2 Southern tournament in Montgomery, Ala., in April and a Level 1A Southern event at Furman University in Greenville last month.
In the Furman event, the two players met up in the semifinal, with Loeb winning 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 over Sculley, the No. 5 seed. Loeb, a rising senior, recently committed to the University of Georgia. Loeb said everything feels like it has been coming together in the months leading up to summer.
FORMER SMITH-STEARNS STUDENT CLOSES OUT STRONG COLLEGE CAREER
Kaitlin Ray, a former Smith Stearns student and now a college senior, closed out her collegiate career last month with the UCLA women's tennis team. The Bruins, who won the 2014 national title over North Carolina, made four straight Final Four appearances during Ray's time with the squad. Ray was also named to the PAC 12's All-Academic First Team.
Follow reporter Kendall Salter at twitter.com/IPBG_Kendall.