Tennis has its own state license plate, and its own Miss South Carolina.
Is a Miss America next?
Brooke Mosteller is a Miss America contestant. The former Wando tennis star has big dreams.
“I’m pretending that I will win,” the 24-year-old beauty queen said Wednesday night. She has been training at the Miss S.C. headquarters in Hartsville for the Sept. 15 Miss America Pageant, and will leave for Atlantic City on Monday.
Mosteller is accustomed to winning. She played a key role in four straight Class AAAA state tennis championships at Wando while earning All-Lowcountry honors four times and helping the Warriors win 62 straight matches.
She jokes about “going from last on the tennis team to a (Southern Conference 5-K) track champion in two weeks.” That was during her sophomore year at Furman where she played tennis for two years before switching to track the last two years.
“I had never run track before, but my dad (Rick) timed me at Christmas break. I asked the track coach if I could run in the meet, and he said I could,” she said.
But, for Mosteller, everything goes back to tennis. “I’ve played so much tennis I compare everything to tennis,” she said. “Tennis helped me so much. It showed me how to work with adversity and the unexpected. Tennis and sports give me a competitive edge.”
Like when her name was called out as Miss South Carolina. “I was completely caught off guard, but I went into it with the mindset I was going to win. Then, there was the last two and they called my name ... I never prepared for that.”
Mosteller, who was the third runner-up in the 2012 Miss S.C. contest, had to take a break from the University of South Carolina Law School in order to prepare for the Miss America competition.
While delivering her salutatorian address at her Wando graduation, she spontaneously ended her speech by singing Wicked’s “For Good.”
She was a fierce competitor in tennis. She trained and played to win. In her last high school match in the 2007 Class AAAA state finals in Columbia, wearing her favorite ragged red baseball cap that hid some of her beauty, Mosteller decided to try serve-and-volley tennis. She won easily.
She trained two hours in the early mornings year-around at the old Players Club. “Some mornings it’s hard, but once you get out there it feels good,” she told me as a Wando sophomore in what she now calls “my first interview ever.”
In that December 2005 column, Becky Williamson, Mosteller’s high school coach at Wando, said, “She’s dedicated, a great kid. She puts everything into it, whether it’s tennis, singing or the Miss Wando contest.”
Fritz Nau, the former Players Club owner who coached the likes of Monica Seles and Andre Agassi, also said in 2005, “She (Mosteller) may be the most unique player I’ve had, including Seles and Agassi in that I’ve never seen a player with better work ethics and leadership abilities.”
Mosteller’s primary coach at Nau’s junior academy was current Family Circle pro Bryan Minton.
Minton describes Mosteller this way: “Brooke was the leader of an exceptional group of young women that trained with us ... Caroline Thornton, Shelby Rogers, Morgan Ivey, Jessica Diamond, Jamie Harrell ... She was responsible for keeping the intensity of the group up and that everything they did from start to finish was professional. She was an amazing role model and the hardest working player I have ever worked with. She has amazing intensity and focus.”
The future of the Charleston Pro Tennis League is uncertain since the co-founder of the popular fall Friday night league has relocated his family to Tampa, Fla., because of his job as a medical equipment salesman.
“I will greatly miss the tennis scene, especially the CPTL,” Chris Henderson said. “At this point, I believe the league has come to an end. It was a great 11 years and I met a lot of great friends throughout this process.”
The second annual Hugs for Harper Tennis Tournament and Auction will be held Sept. 13-15 at Kiawah Island. The Courage, Strength and Hope Dinner & Auction will be held Sept. 14. Dinner tickets are available to non-players (843-792-3321). The 2012 event raised $64,000 for the MUSC Children’s Hospital Pediatric Cancer Fund.
Registration is available online at hugsforharper.org or tennislink.usta.com/ tournaments.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.