Weeks remain until calendars officially ring in the start of spring.
But much like the pollen blanketing all in its path, high school sports isn’t waiting to start a new season.
Though lacrosse and soccer began their respective campaigns weeks ago, a large share of the other spring sports join in on the fun this week.
Business truly picks up on the baseball diamond, as a pair of the area’s premier preseason tournaments take center stage.
Waccamaw will again welcome squads from near and far to Pawleys Island while hosting the annual Coastal Invitational.
The event will begin with the Warriors taking on defending tourney champion Palmetto at 1 p.m. on Thursday. It will run from March 2-5, with the championship game taking place at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Area squads make up half of this year’s field, including the likes of Conway, St. James and Socastee along with Waccamaw. Making the trip from various corners of the state include the Mustangs, Cheraw, Pelion and Wando.
Another tournament with the opportunity to yield quite the competition is this year’s Baseball at the Beach, hosted annually by Caravelle Resort and Myrtle Beach High School.
Emphasizing a high level of competition, the field for this edition includes two defending state champions (Abbeville and Aynor) and the No. 1 team in Class 5A according to coaches in preseason polls (Northwestern). It will also feature a host of the state’s top prospects — many of whom will play Division I baseball once their days at the prep level are done.
In addition to those three clubs, the host Seahawks, Cardinal Newman and Eastside will take part in this year’s tournament.
Tourney play will start at 2 p.m. Thursday, when the Trojans take on Eastside at the Myrtle Beach High baseball stadium.
The softball season also has started with a flourish, with teams making the trip to Georgetown for this year’s Bulldog Invitational. Starting on Monday, it will run through Friday.
Not to be outdone, the track season will also get off to a running start.
Another edition of the Alan Connie Relays will take place at North Myrtle Beach High School. Named for former Coastal Carolina women’s cross country and track and field coach, it is one of the few events all season in which squads from the Grand Strand are congregated all in the same place.
First events will start at 9 a.m.