Even before her team took its first shot from a tee, St. James girls golf coach Denise Noll already had experienced enough excitement for the day.
“The afternoon had a frantic start, as the top two Sharks (golfers) Smith Knaffle and Jordan White forgot their socks for the match,” she said. “Luckily, mom and dad prevailed, and the Sharks and Chiefs set out on the beautiful Wachesaw Plantation Club (with socks).”
Fortunately for Noll – and her team, for that matter – there was just enough room for a little more excitement.
The socks supplied by White’s parents must’ve had a lucky charm with them, as the St. James junior golfer notched her first ever hole-in-one on her first swing of the day at Wachesaw Plantation Club’s third hole, a 120-yard par 3.
“It was rather surprising honestly because the green had shadows on it from the overcasting trees on the right,” she said. “So I really wasn’t sure walking from the tee box to the green if it had gone in, or if it had gone off the back.
“When I got up to the hole and saw it was there, I didn’t really say anything, I just started smiling and pointing in the cup at my parents and the North Myrtle Beach coach who was there at the time. I saw my coaches about two holes later and they ran up to me, hands in the air and gave me a big hug.”
Following the ace, White continued the momentum, shooting an even par 36 to earn medalist honors. More importantly, St. James defeated the Chiefs by a combined 107 strokes.
Even afterward, White said she has been amazed by how many were congratulated her on the hole-in-one.
“When I was finished with my match, the rest of my team was already up at the clubhouse along with their families, and when I walked up they all began to cheer,” she said. “Each gave me a big hug and told me how proud they were of me and how awesome it was. I can’t stress enough how great my team is and what incredible people they were.
“… Everyone, parents, North Myrtle Beach players, my girls, were all excited and happy for me. It genuinely couldn’t have been better.”
Myrtle Beach swim grab first ever sweep of Warrior Invitational
The Myrtle Beach boys swimming team made a bit of a statement Saturday.
It read something to the effect of: “Hey, Waccamaw. You’re not alone.”
The Seahawks edge the Warriors by four points to claim a title in the Warrior Invitational at the Georgetown YMCA and the Myrtle Beach girls team continued its dominance to give the school a sweep.
“It was great. The excitement was good,” Myrtle Beach coach Michael Angwin said. “We met with the team halfway through to let them know it was going to be close. The boys had to swim very good to win the meet.”
Myrtle Beach’s Yianni Paraschos (200-yard individual medley, 2:25.30), Sean McGonigal (50-yard freestyle, 23.55) and Isaiah Ivey (100-yard backstroke, 56.93) were individual winners, and the Seahawks’ 200-yard medley relay – Isaiah Ivey, Yianni Paraschos, Ian Morgan and San McGonigal (1:49.91) and 200-yard freestyle relay – Ivey, Nester Llanot, Morgan and McGonigal – (1:34.95) teams won events.
Waccamaw’s Patrick Sullivan (50-yard freestyle, 22.79; 100-yard freestyle, 50.20), Sean King (100-yard butterfly, 58.06), Michael Paglio (500-yard freestyle, 5:47.49) and Jonah Crosby (100-yard breaststroke, 1:10.47) were individual winners, and the Warriors’ 400-yard freestyle relay team – John Grey Crosby, Paglio, Cameron Bonham and Jonah Crosby – placed first (3:43.00).
While Waccamaw won more events, Myrtle Beach made up for it with other finishers.
“They stepped up. We got two points, three points here and there that we needed. We need those fourth-place, fifth-place finishes to grab those points,” Angwin said. “We needed every point we could get. The top swimmers did what they usually do.
“We have a little more depth than Waccamaw does this year. Our depth really comes through. Our depth of swimmers gets us points in fourth, fifth and sixth place.”
Myrtle Beach’s Olivia McGonigal (50-yard freestyle, 26.58; 100-yard backstroke, 1:02.49) and Kennedy Drew (100-yard freestyle, 57.19) were individual winners on the girls side, while the Seahawks’ 200-yard freestyle relay – Drew, Danielle Flaherty, Catherine Miller and McGonigal (1:47.93) and 400-yard freestyle relay – Drew, Flaherty, Miller, McGonigal (3:57.49) teams both won.
“The girls did what they had to do. They finished strong,” Angwin said. “We have a really strong girls team. They’re coming along very well. Hopefully we’ll peak around regionals at the right time and have that boost us into states.”
However, this time it was the boys who shone brightest it the spotlight, giving the Seahawks their first girls-boys sweep of the event.
“They were elated and jumping for joy,” Angwin said. “It was a full team effort. From top to bottom, all of them needed to swim well.”
Carolina Forest’s Ethan Nechemia (200-yard freestyle, 2:03.03) was the other boys individual winner.
Other girls individual winners included: Carolina Forest’s Peyton McWhorter (500-yard freestyle, 5:39.35) and Taylor Steele (100-yard butterfly, 1:04.99), Socastee’s Jenn Paul (200-yard freestyle, 2:07.29), Waccamaw’s Emma Sullivan (200-yard individual medley, 2:24.82) and North Myrtle Beach’s Rivers Chandler (100-yard breaststroke, 1:14.19).
Carolina Forest’s 200-yard medley relay team – Eliazbeth Gatley, Steele, McWhorter, Jensen Helgerson – won (2:00.88).
Area squads compete in prestigious cross country meet
It wasn’t your typical weekend for several local cross country teams, making the more than two hour trip to Columbia to take part in the prestigious Bob Jenkins Coaches Classic.
Taking place at the Sandhills Research Park located in the northeastern portion of the state’s capital city, the annual event invites dozens of the state’s top cross country teams. On a local basis, teams from Conway, North Myrtle Beach, Socastee, St. James and Waccamaw each participated in the meet.
Waccamaw’s boys and girls teams showed their worth at the event, the squads finishing in the top 10 in their respective competitions.
The Warrior girls finished eighth with an average time of 21:53. Junior runner Briley Arnold led the way, finishing 34th overall with a time of 21:31.
While the best girls team performance at the Bob Jenkins Coaches Classic belonged to Waccamaw, North Myrtle Beach sophomore Wilson Jenerette was the top area individual, finishing seventh overall with a time of 20:29. Conway junior Kenia Smith also posted a solid result, finishing 41st after crossing the line at the 21:42 mark.
As for the Waccamaw boys, the team finished 10th at the event with an average time of 18:47. Sophomore Perrin Jones was the squad’s top performer, crossing the line at just before the 18-minute mark, good enough for 21st.
Socastee senior Keahi Mendoza posted the best finish by a local runner, coming in 12th with a time of 17:40.
On the recruiting trail
With the college visitation window now open, Carolina Forest standout Duane Moss has proven rather busy entertaining potential suitors. Holding 13 offers to his name, the first of those to knock on the local product’s door was Presbyterian, which paid a visit over the weekend. Western Kentucky followed shortly after, with Youngstown State expected to be in town to talk to Moss on Tuesday. … Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach talent Mike Green also will be entertaining college coaches this week, as College of Charleston has plans to visit the Saints sophomore standout. The school also has its eyes on Conway junior Jimmy Nichols, paying a visit on Tuesday, according to media reports. … One of the area’s top track and field stars has taken her name off the market. St. James’ Alexus Alston committed to the College of Charleston over the weekend. Alston qualified for the state track meet in four individual events, finishing second in the 400-meter hurdles, fifth in the 100-meter hurdles and seventh in the triple jump. She also won four region titles last season.