Wilmington fourth-grader gaining statewide attention in tennis rankings

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As the No. 1 ranked player among her age group in the state and fourth in the southern division, 9-year-old Peyton Philemon continues to grow as one of the top tennis standouts in Wilmington.

The fourth-grader recently won one of North Carolina’s most prestigious tournaments, the Tarheel Qualifier, and will be representing the state later this month in Cayce, South Carolina, for the Southern Closed Tournament, a United State Tennis Association (USTA) sanctioned event.

Peyton Philemon. Photo courtesy- Elisabeth Philemon
Peyton Philemon. Photo courtesy Elisabeth Philemon.

“I’ve had the privilege of working with Peyton for the past two years,” said Beau Summersill, a private instructor in Wilmington and head tennis coach at Laney High School. “Through all of our hours on court and hard work it is clear that she has taken her game to the next level.

“Peyton walked away with the 10 and under title at the Tarheel qualified. Winning this tournament as a nine year old is something to be proud of.”

After garnering multiple sportsmanship awards, including the 2014 UNCW Seahawk Tennis Camp Award, Philemon earned an invitation to attend a developmental camp at Wake Forest University in December 2014. A handful of kids were invited and each given the chance to train with some of North Carolina’s top tennis pros, according to Elisabeth Philemon, Peyton’s mom.

In 2015, Philemon has taken five singles titles and two doubles titles. In April, she was invited to attend Team USA Sectional Camp in Atlanta, Georgia. Only four girls from North Carolina received an invite.

“This is only one of her many accomplishments,” said Summersill. “When beginning working with Peyton about two years ago, she was ranked 122nd in North Carolina. She is currently ranked No. 1 in North Carolina for 10 and under competitors. It’s such an awesome experience to see your pupil succeed after such commitment and time has been put into the development of your player.”

While the accolades continue to roll in for the youngster, while honing in her skills from season to season, Philemon is still just a fourth grader and uses some of her spare when she’s not on the court–which isn’t often–to enjoy performance theater, listen to music and spend time with family and friends.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Peyton and what she has been able to accomplish over the past few years,” said Summersill. “She could not have gotten to this point without her competitive spirit, motivation, and true athleticism, as well as amazing support from her parents, Nick and Elisabeth Philemon.

“I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Peyton and am so fortunate to be a part of her success.”