From tops in the world to second in the state?

Tennis Magazine has thrown Kiawah Island a curve from left field.

If Roy Barth is shocked, you might check in with Charly Rasheed at Wild Dunes. The Isle of Palms resort has gone from top five in the world to nowhere to be found in the Carolinas' top five.

"It's a 100 percent marketing piece," Rasheed said.

Of course, it all depends on who is doing the ranking -- at least, this time. Tennis Magazine? Or Tennis Resorts Online?

Tennis Magazine has looked favorably on the two Charleston resorts in the past. Just last year, the magazine ranked Kiawah No. 3 in the country and Wild Dunes No. 6. Kiawah was rated tops in the nation from 2004-2006 and top six since 1994.

Tennis Resorts Online rated Kiawah No. 1 in the world last year, while picking Wild Dunes fifth after being second on the U.S. list a year earlier.

But Tennis Magazine has altered its format. Instead of picking the top 50 resorts overall, five resorts each from 10 different regions were selected to make up the magazine's top 50.

Tennis Magazine now has tabbed Kiawah for second in the Carolinas, behind Hilton Head Island's Palmetto Dunes. Wild Dunes wasn't among the top five. Neither was perennial high choice Sea Pines Resort or either Litchfield Beach and Golf Resort.

"It's quite surprising," said Barth, Kiawah's tennis director. "They've changed the whole format. I think it was a business decision to spread out the resorts into sections. I'm shocked they left off Wild Dunes and Sea Pines. It's really strange."

Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort was selected third in the Carolinas by Tennis Magazine, while Bluffton's eight-court Inn at Palmetto Bluff was tagged for fourth, and Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort fifth.

Cyclones strong again

After seeing his team lose to Hilton Head Prep in the last two SCISA Class AAA state finals, Porter-Gaud coach Tom Higgins thinks the Cyclones are capable of making another run for the title.

But five-time state finalist Hilton Head Prep lost only No. 3 Aaron Cotton and will be the favorite to win its fourth state title in five years.

"Hilton Head Christian also is much improved," Higgins said.

"I think it will be between Hilton Head Prep, Hilton Head Christian, Pinewood Prep and us."

Higgins was referring to the state race, but he just as easily could have been talking about SCISA Region III-AAA since all four teams will be competing in the same region.

He pointed out that Pinewood Prep can't be counted out as long as the Panthers have All-Lowcountry players Joel Roberts and Adam Elliget.

Junior Thomas Spratt is the Cyclones' No. 1 player again.

Senior Hunter Mitchell, who has been involved in the last four state finals while playing for Hilton Head Prep and Porter-Gaud two years each, will be the Cyclones' No. 2 player. Smallish sophomore Seth Pinosky is No. 3 and West Ashley freshman transfer Junior Duarte is No. 4.

Flowertown set

The Flowertown Festival Tennis Tournament is scheduled for March 30-April 1 in Summerville, with an entry deadline of March 26.

Register at www.summer-ville.us.sc.com, or contact Nancy Sumersett at 851-5211.

Reach James Beck at jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.