A certain level of skill is crucial to winning any championship. But when skill is combined with luck, it's an almost unbeatable combination.
League tennis is no exception. The women's 55-and-over 3.5 Playrights out of Charleston Tennis Center had the skill to go unbeaten in their local league flight last spring as well as the state tournament and Southern Sectional. But the Elisabeth Pickelsimer-captained team had to win a grievance and an appeal to earn a berth in the state playoffs as the Lowcountry Tennis Association's runner-up to a team from Snee Farm.
The Playrights are now Southern Sectional champions and headed for the nationals in Surprise, Ariz., April 25-27 - thanks in part to the luck of a drawing early this month in Columbus, Ga., in the sectionals.
The Playrights and a team from Knoxville, Tenn., won the two flights with 3-0 records, but inclement weather that plagued the entire weekend prompted Southern officials to cancel the final. The Playrights then won a drawing that was held to determine the Southern Sectional championship.
Team co-captain Beth Renken said, "I think we deserved our spot that we had to fight for."
Renken described the sectional's turn of events this way: "Sectionals were interesting with all the rain. First round was shortened to an eight-game no-ad pro-set, and the second two rounds were four-game no-ad pro-sets. We won our flight and the finals had to be cancelled due to awful weather, so they drew names between us and the other flight winner. So a little bit of luck was involved at the end."
In addition to Pickelsimer and Renken, the Southern participants were: Joy MacLean, Carol Poole, Anya Optis Park, Lynda Wall, Debbie Sisco, Mary Ann Borysowicz and Karen Farrell.
Cooper to CSU
Former Porter-Gaud star Mi'Kola Cooper had an outstanding 2013 season as a freshman at Baltimore's Morgan State University, but she "just wanted to be home." She is now a sophomore at Charleston Southern.
Cooper made the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's first-team all-conference list as a freshman while playing No. 2 singles and No. 1 doubles for Morgan State.
"The team here (CSU) is a little better. I hope to get somewhere in the top four," she said.
"The weather is much warmer here, but we played indoors in Baltimore."
Elliget at Summerville
Former Pinewood Prep All-Lowcountry player Adam Elliget could help make Summerville a Class AAAA state contender this spring after a year of home-schooling.
The 6-31/2 junior said he already has received a number of college offers, including one from Alabama. Elliget trained with Matt Hane at the I'On Club before Hane's job switch to Baton Rouge, La., this month.
Elliget and other top Green Wave players have been playing together at Doty Park to prepare for the season. The Green Wave have senior returnees Austin Wiseman, Brandon Sekula and Adam Seith to back up Elliget, along with first-year head coach David Long's son, sophomore Walker Long. Seith and Long played Nos. 1 and 2 last season.
. David Long also coached the Summerville girls team, which was led by All-Lowcountry honorable mention sophomore Kitty Green, who played the No. 1 spot that was held down by her sister, Caroline Green, as a senior in 2012.
Reach James Beck at firstname.lastname@example.org. See his columns on pro tennis at ubitennis.com/english.