Bishop England is favored to capture its third straight S.C. High School League Class AA state title in the two-week long state girls playoffs that are set to begin this week.

As usual, the toughest obstacle for coach Kristin Fleming’s once-beaten Bishops is expected to be old rival Waccamaw in a Lower State matchup. Waccamaw lost ace Tolley Rice to college tennis at Elon and doesn’t appear to be as strong this season.

The Bishops won last year’s state semifinal clash against Waccamaw, 5-1, losing only to Rice. The Bishops also scored a 5-1 preseason win over Waccamaw two months ago.

While the Bishops won’t start play until Thursday, local Class AAA and AAAA teams will begin play on Tuesday.

In Class AAA, No. 2 Berkeley plays host to Socastee in the first round, Hanahan visits powerful Myrtle Beach and James Island goes to Wilson.

In Class AAAA first-round pairings, Wando is the only local No. 1 seed and entertains Colleton County, while No. 2 Stratford plays host to Beaufort, No. 2 Ashley Ridge is home to Spring Valley and West Ashley visits Bluffton.

The state finals are scheduled for Nov. 9 at the sprawling Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center just off Interstate 26 on the Charleston side of Columbia.

Local women’s teams participating in league tennis’ state combo championships last weekend at Hilton Head Island dominated the senior age groups by bringing home five state titles. Christine Ramsey’s 5.5 ladies out of Dunes West captured the lone 18-plus title among local women’s teams.

The senior women’s winners were: captain Marie Cunningham’s 40-plus 6.5 team from Mount Pleasant; Leah Biller’s 40-plus 7.5 team from Park West; Joette Creager’s 55-plus 7.5 team from Mount Pleasant Rec; Penny Gorby’s 65-plus 6.5 team from Charleston Tennis Center; and Elisabeth Pickelsimer’s 65-plus 7.5 team from Charleston Tennis Center.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that any of the local men’s teams were finalists at Hilton Head Island. But I am sure there were some great times and stories, such as my 18-plus Charleston Tennis Center team and me playing three matches last Sunday en route to winning our flight and advancing to the state semifinals.

Also in the mixed doubles 55-plus state tournament at Aiken, the Del Webb team of Charleston won the state 6.0 title.

From the Czech Republic, to Austria, to Salinas, Calif. And, of course, Charleston is Brenda Carter’s home.

Carter’s latest exploits came last weekend in California where she won two more national titles, sweeping singles and doubles in the women’s 65 age group. She defeated doubles partner Betty Wachob of Panama City, Fla., in the singles final.

A few weeks earlier, Carter was winning the 65-and-over mixed doubles world championship with Georgian Hugh Thomson in the ITF world individual championships in Austria where Carter also teamed with Wachob for a runner-up finish in doubles.

Carter was a standout on the runner-up U.S. team in the world 65-and-over team championships in the Czech Republic before heading to Austria.

• Daniel Island boys 14 Southern top 10 junior Jared Pratt competed in tournaments until two days before his late September surgery date at MUSC for the curved-spine condition Scoliosis. He played No. 1 singles and doubles for the S.C. Southern Cup team and posted an 8-0 record as South Carolina finished second to Georgia in the Southern competition. Pratt is expected to be sidelined for nearly a year.

• Charleston’s Shelby Rogers is now 21 years old, and she has climbed to a new career high of No. 116 in the world. She hasn’t played an event since suffering a pulled side muscle four weeks ago in Las Vegas.

• The recent Alan Fleming Senior Clay Court Championships raised $52,000 for the Hospice of Charleston Foundation. Local singles winners included Andy Steingold (men’s 60), Frank Meade (men’s 80), Diane Barker (women’s 50) and Susie Peiffer (women’s 60).

• Legend Oaks pro Andy Steingold will be the recipient of the state’s male player of the year award during USTA South Carolina’s Dec. 7 annual celebration at Wild Dunes Resort, while Maybank Tennis Center pro Toni Young will receive the John Newcombe Pro award. Other local winners are most improved junior boy Scotty Cameron of the Isle of Palms, the Floyd family of St. George and the Kiawah Island Junior Championships.

• Charleston Tennis Center will serve as host for the S.C. Tennis on Campus state championship event Nov. 9-10.

• Charleston Tennis Center will hold a Turkey Day mixed doubles event on Nov. 24 from 2-5 p.m. Sign up at Charleston Tennis Center.

• The Charleston Thanksgiving Junior Classic is scheduled for Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Charleston Tennis Center. Registration is available at

• Charleston Tennis Center will hold the Charleston County School District’s After School Showcase on Nov. 16. Anyone interested in helping with the event can contact Meg Farrelly at

Reach James Beck at See his columns on pro tennis at