Columbia, S.C. - (October 13, 2014) The Columbia Regional Sports Council (CRSC) is proud to assist the Lexington County Recreation & Aging Commission (LCRAC) in hosting the 2014 USTA Junior Team Tennis National Championships which will take place in Lexington County Oct. 16-19 and Oct. 23-26.
A local Lexington County team, the Lexington Legends led by Coach Eric Jackson, will participate in the championship. The team, which features some of the top high school tennis players from Lexington, Chapin, Irmo, West Columbia and Sumter, won the sectional championships, also held in Lexington County this summer.
As a Lexington High School coach, Jackson has seen several of these kids play for years and purposely chose talented players who valued sportsmanship.
"When I put together this team, I wanted kids who handled themselves well on court," Jackson said. "By that, I mean they don't cheat, argue, have attitudes, etc., but rather play as hard as they can and treat their opponent with the same respect they'd like to be shown."
He elaborated on how valuable the home-field advantage is to the Lexington County players. He believes the support of the Columbia community will make a huge difference in their performance.
"The encouragement and excitement they hear and feel from the local crowds has been very important to their success and I feel it'll be a big factor in how we perform at Nationals," Jackson said. "Hopefully a lot of people will come out and back these kids because they really are great kids, have a lot of heart, have worked hard, and deserve the success they've achieved to this point."
As a coach for 10 years, he cited several influences from his childhood such as his baseball coach at Ben Lippen, Bobby Young, and his First Presbyterian of Columbia church league basketball coach, Jim Turner.
Jackson said, "I've tried to blend their styles into how I coach...competitive as heck, but still having fun with the kids. I think a good mix is very important, especially when the team environment is in play. Tennis is mainly an individual sport...I think it's great for the kids to have fun with others and learn to support others in battle and think not just of themselves."
The matches will be played at Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center at Ottarre Pointe and Lexington County Tennis Complex. This will be the third consecutive year that this national competition has taken place in Lexington County.
Over 2,000 people are expected to attend the tournament including 900 players, as well as coaches, parents and families. USTA contracted a block of over 1,000 rooms at the Columbia Marriott and over 1,300 hotel room nights are expected to be generated. The estimated direct economic impact of the championship is $673,243.
Scott Powers, executive director of CRSC, said, "Our entire region has stepped up to make this event truly special. From the facilities at the Cayce and Lexington tennis centers, to the players' party at the convention center and the Marriott host hotel, we have shown these players from all over the nation what true hospitality is all about."
For more information, contact Scott Powers, executive director of the Columbia Regional Sports Council.
About Columbia Regional Sports Council
The mission of the Columbia Regional Sports Council is to strengthen the area's economy by marketing and selling Columbia, S.C. as a premier destination for sporting events, partnering with local sports organizations to grow and develop existing events, and by recruiting new events that provide an economic benefit to the region by generating room nights, food and beverage sales, and associated tax revenues. For more information, visit columbiasportscouncil.com.
About United States Tennis Association
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) is the national governing body for the sport of tennis and the recognized leader in promoting and developing the sport's growth on every level in the United States, from local communities to the crown jewel of the professional game, the US Open.
Established in 1881, the USTA is a progressive and diverse not-for-profit organization whose volunteers, professional staff and financial resources support the singular mission. The USTA is the largest tennis organization in the world, with 17 geographical sections, more than 770,000 individual members and 8,000 organizational members, thousands of volunteers and a professional staff dedicated to growing the game. For more information, visit www.usta.com.