In less than a week, lacrosse in Horry County Schools could catch its biggest break to date.
The HCS board will formally vote Monday on whether to sanction the sport for boys and girls at Carolina Forest, Myrtle Beach and St. James. A presentation on behalf of those three schools was made by Daryl Brown, the district’s executive director of student affairs, last week.
“We’ve got an abundance of sports in Horry County. But we also have a segment of the population where those sports don’t appeal to them,” Brown said Monday. “I’m always excited about trying something different.”
If approved, those three schools would join fellow county program Socastee, as well as Waccamaw. It would alter the landscape of the sport in several ways, maybe none bigger than travel.
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In the past, the bulk of Socastee’s matches were against the likes of Wando, Bishop England, River Bluff and Bluffton. They competed against Waccamaw last season, as well as Carolina Forest’s club program. However, bus rides were making the sport significantly less economical, both in terms of finances and time.
“The travel is definitely a big bonus. If this is passed, you’re talking about five teams that can play each other,” Brown said. “It’s no fun having to send your child out there to ride two and a half hours each way to play an hour-and-a-half game.”
The sport’s popularity has continued to grow locally in the past decade because of the injection of more residents moving in from the Northeast, where lacrosse rivals some of the biggest sports in certain portions of the region.
As for why the timing of this action is happening now – as opposed to a few years back when Socastee added its sport to the South Carolina High School League register – a vote by the Class AAAA athletics directors had quite a bit to do with it.
Prior to this coming season, the teams at Socastee could include athletes from other area schools. The most notable instance of that may have been former Myrtle Beach football quarterback Tyler Keane (2012-2013), who played lacrosse for Socastee.
However, once Socastee moved to Class AAAA, the division’s athletics directors from across the state voted to disallow the practice, based on the belief that it gave the Braves (and other schools in similar situations) a competitive advantage. That meant lacrosse athletes from neighboring schools were about to be left out of the loop.
St. James Principal Vann Pennell and Athletics Director Paula Lee made a formal request to the district on May 27. Myrtle Beach’s John Washburn and John Cahill followed suit two days later. Then, on June 4, Carolina Forest Principal Gaye Driggers sent their request to change from a club program to an SCHSL sanctioned sport.
Myrtle Beach’s official request also included an equipment start-up cost quote of approximately $11,600 for a 20-person team. Depending on roster size, each of the schools would be looking at around that, give or take, for each of their programs.
If approved, all three of those schools would commence their official lacrosse slate in the spring.
Kjosa’s recruitment increasing
Interest in Socastee tight end Max Kjosa is starting to pick up some serious steam.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pounder burst onto the recruiting scene when he caught eight passes in the Braves’ run-oriented offense last season. That may not sound like much, except that five of those catches went for touchdowns and his per-reception average was north of 32 yards.
Add in his size and some leeway for where he he can play in an offensive scheme, and colleges are starting to pull the trigger.
“They like the fact that I can play tight end or receiver or even an H-back spot,” he said. “They had me running that a few times.”
It’s a process that has happened very quickly.
Kjosa missed his sophomore season with a broken left leg after a teammate fell on him in a pileup at the end of a play. Longtime Socastee coordinator Steve Hodge said Kjosa was working at offensive tackle.
Following the injury, Kjosa began working with private strength and conditioning coach Terrance Butler of ESA Fitness and made the switch to tight end.
Numerous NCAA Division I programs, including South Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest, UNC, Rutgers and UCF have either offered him a scholarship or have said they will do so soon.
“I just think he’s a great frame that they can put a lot of meat on him, more than we can,” Hodge said. “ He’s got great feet and great hands. He’s got a lot of intangibles that teams like.”
High school football on HTC
HTC is banking on less being more.
The local television production and distribution company is scaling back from broadcasting three or four high school football games each week to one. The hope is that by concentrating more efforts, the quality of the product will increase.
Tom Vitt, director of marketing for HTC, said St. James at Loris is tentatively being planned for this Friday’s Game of the Week, with it likely heading to Little River the following Friday for North Myrtle Beach’s game against Loris.
Future games have been set, although Vitt said there is always the chance of an audible based on records and other outside forces.
In the past, HTC has broadcast audio and/or video from a number of Horry County games each week.
This season, games will again be live-streamed at htcconnect.com and will have a replay at 8 p.m. each Monday on HTC’s Channel 4. HTC will partner with Lucky Dog Television for the production, with longtime area radio personality Allen Smothers handling the play-by-play duties.
Grand Strand football web chat
The third season of The Sun News/WBTW weekly football Web chat will begin 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Questions for WBTW sports anchor Conan Gaque and The Sun News high schools reporter Ian Guerin can be submitted to email@example.com. Selected questions will be answered on the air.
NMB softball standout selected for showcase
North Myrtle Beach outfielder Julia Cole was named to the roster for the Queen of Diamonds Showcase South, which will be played at Winthrop on Aug. 30-31.
The event, which attracts college coaches from every NCAA division, includes fewer than 300 players from around the country. Players apply and then are selected based on athletic and academic requirements.
Cole was an integral part of North Myrtle Beach’s run to the Region VII-AAA title last spring. She was named to the Toast of the Coast squad after batting .377 and adding 33 runs, 27 RBIs and 19 walks.