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South Brunswick won the Wachovia Cup for Waccamaw 1A/2A Conference excellence last year and is well on its way to a repeat for the 2007-08 school year.
Already in tow are the volleyball, girls’ tennis, girls’ golf and wrestling championships.
Looking ahead, the Cougars are defending league champions in girls’ soccer, softball and boys’ golf and figure to be right in the thick of things in baseball as well.
Two teams, girls’ soccer and softball, went a long way in the state playoffs last season and both teams return a strong nucleus for another state championship run.
The softball team went 25-6, losing 4-0 to Central Davidson in the state championship game. Coach Tony Spivey has eight players returning, with just three seniors.
The soccer team went 19-7-1 and reached the state semifinals before losing to Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons 6-0. Coach Randy Young has nine players returning.
The boys’ golf team must rebuild after a seventh-place finish at state, but coach Gene Doane expects to continue the winning ways. The Cougars went 64-4 in individual matches last season and have a conference streak of 104 individual match wins on the line.
Here’s a quick preview of each sport:
Coach Lee Shelton is hoping to build on the 2007 season.
The Cougars went 12-13 last season before losing to West Bladen in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs. They finished 9-3 in the Waccamaw 1A/2A Conference, sharing second with South Columbus.
The Cougars, who graduated leading hitter Justin Rogers, will rely heavily on a three-deep pitching staff anchored by seniors Ryan Morgan, Ryan Waldrep and Mitch McCarley.
McCarley (third base), Morgan (outfield), Ben Maggard (first base) and Elliot Swain (catcher) are being counted on to supply the offense. Swain returns for his third year behind the mask. All are seniors.
Outfielders Nick Spell and Johnathan Marvin, the Cougars’ leading hitter in conference play last season, also return as does senior Ellison Brothers.
Sophomore Edward McNeil and freshman Ryan Brendle are also being counted on.
“I feel like we should compete this year,” Shelton said. “We've got three pitchers with varsity experience, and if we can get some of the JVs to come on to give innings I feel we should do well. Last season we got out of the blocks slowly and came on strong toward the end. We need to come out of the gate with enthusiasm and excitement.”
It’s a rebuilding year for the boys’ golf team.
After winning the Waccamaw Conference regular season and tournament, finishing first in the region and coming in seventh at state, Doane has to replace six seniors, including regional medalist David Register.
The Cougars only return one of their top four golfers, sophomore Dalton Gore, and five others who were members of the team that went 64-4 in matches last season.
Senior Blake Cato has been named captain for this season and will play at the No. 1 position with Gore at No. 2.
Juniors Bradley Narron and Mitch Brendle will be counted on as Nos. 3 and 4 with senior Walter Carmichael, sophomore Kelly Weinahect and freshman Cody Criscoe battling for the final two spots.
“We’re a young team,” Doane said. “But we ought to get stronger as the season goes on.”
The Lady Cougars will take aim at a Class 2A state title with seven players who took part in last year’s state championship game.
Candace Piner will be counted on to provide most of the pitching.
The infield of Ashley Edge (first base), Brittany Spivey (second base), Brittany Bowling (shortstop) and Jenna Kazmierczak (third base) is solid with Katlyn Clemmons slated to do most of the catching.
Finding two outfielders to go along with senior Sam Hagewood is the puzzle Spivey must solve going into the season.
“We’ve got some newcomers who could give us some power, and we have a great group of eighth graders who will be freshmen next year,” Spivey said.
Young is looking forward to finishing better than fourth in the state.
“We’ve got a good offense, a good, solid defense and experience,” he said.
Goalkeeper Kat Adams is back along with the potent offensive talents of Alexandra Young, Jackie Zeron, Erica Sauls and Katelyn Alston.
Defensively, Jessica Kellett, Ashley Kjome and Ariel Brandel will show the way.
Young is also high on freshman Kelly Taylor, who will play with the varsity this season.
Kazmierczak will be doing double duty, scrambling from the softball field to the track to compete in the 100 and 300 hurdles.
The junior went to the state meet last year and hopes to improve on her sixth-place finish in the 300 hurdles.
Teammate Kourtney VanSlyke was seventh in the 300 hurdles.