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King of Clay
L-E rising sophomore, Hunter Horton, cops a pair of state clay court tennis titles
Hunter gold
HUNTER HORTON IS RAPIDLY moving up both the state and Southern region junior USTA standings.
Don’t call Hunter Horton a clay court specialist.Sure, the rising sophomore at Lugoff-Elgin High School is coming off a sweep of the 2013 South Carolina Closed Junior Clay Court State Championship, taking the crown in both singles and doubles at the Greenville event in the boys’ 16 division. But to pigeonhole Horton into being a one surface wonder would be like saying Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson can win only on the short tracks.This past spring, on the hard court, Horton played first singles for the second straight season at L-E. And, for the second time in as many seasons, the young Demons’ program earned a berth in the 4A state playoffs with Horton helping lead the team to an 11-4 record while rapidly becoming one of the top young players in the state.Unlike some professional tennis players who make their name for themselves on the clay at the Roland Garros Stadium in the French Open and then go into hibernation until the Grand Slam event returns to Paris the following year, Horton embraces both surfaces, especially following his having won the biggest titles of his young career the final weekend of July in the Upstate.“I’d rather play on hard court,” admitted the 15-year-old. “But clay courts were good to me (that) weekend.