A.C. Flora’s #1 Took On Nation’s #1.

Last week I attended my second or third A.C. Flora girl’s tennis match. It was the 2nd or 3rd round of the tournament, and a rematch of the 2021 SC State Championship match vs Lucy Beckham from Charleston, SC, which my girls and I attended last year.

Why did I attend? First – My oldest is 13 and all three of our girls have started on their tennis journey, so it’s fun to be around and learn about the culture and vibe. Second – The #1 U16 player in the nation (according to this article), Piper Charney, was on the other team and I wanted to see what she could do, again.

She is amazing, BTW. Piper is #1 in the USA for her age group and in the Top 20 or so U18. Piper recently made it to the US Open doubles quarterfinals, and won some big dog national tournament, respectfully.

That said, the reason for this post isn’t about Piper. It’s about her opponent, Frances Smith.

The score may not reflect it, but Flora’s Frances went into the cage, AGAIN, and was charged with a phenomenal ask. That said, Frances returned serves that Piper is able to put 6 feet up into the chained link fence behind her opponent. She rallied with the best in the nation and had to deal with the best, featheriest, drop shop these eyes have ever seen.

I saw or heard somewhere that Piper doesn’t play all of the school’s matches. Good on them, and her. Flora won courts 4,5 and the doubles court which had the battle tied 3-3 until the decider, whereby Piper was forced to play again. What I’m getting at is, Lucy Beckham HS had to ship their all-time ringer in to beat Flora.

Why did we meet Lucy Beckham in the early rounds instead of the State Championships like last year, you ask? Answer – Apparently, Flora was flipped this year to compete as a Lower State School this year as opposed to the Upper State.

Well done, Flora tennis! Y’all are top of the class and we are super proud of you!

Further still, Frances, you’re are awesome. Your opponent brought our country’s #1 player in to get a win.

Who knows where time takes us, but if Piper makes professional waves and starts playing the likes of Coco Gauff and Emma Raducanu on the WTA circuit, Frances Smith will have a helluva story to tell her kids.

Thank you!

Franklin Jones




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