Toast of the Coast

Toast of the Coast: Waccamaw track and field star Sherman goes out with a bang

J.J. Sherman knew he had what takes to be among the best.

Proving it early was what propelled his triumphant senior season.

The Waccamaw standout earned a trio of top-10 finishes in April’s Taco Bell Classic – which features some of the nation’s top track and field athletes – a feat that helped lead to a pair of state titles and four podium finishes at the state meet in May.

“I got to see I could run with the big boys,” said Sherman, the The Sun News’ Toast of the Coast Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year. “That helped a lot.”

Sherman went on to win the 100 meters and long jump – his first-ever state titles – and placed second in the 400 and third in the 200 at the Class AA meet.

“It was more of a growth factor,” first-year Waccamaw coach Bill Peterman said of Sherman’s first appearance in the Taco Bell meet. “It allowed him to realize there’s a lot more out there. He realized, ‘I definitely need to be better than what I already am.’ In any event at every local meet he could win. I think he needed to go out there and go get pushed against the nation’s top competition and take this thing to another level. Every now and then it’s good for you to get beat. He was just really focused after that. I think he felt more confident.

“… Even though he got beat, he realized, ‘I can run with the big dogs.’”

Peterman worked with Sherman on his jumps and conditioning in the offseason, and the athlete worked with Kipp Chrisner – one of his coaches since middle school – on speed. All of that helped lead to Sherman’s triumphant performance that helped the team finish third in AA.

“It was a little late, but it happened at the right time,” Sherman said of finally earning gold. “I wish I won last year, but [winning this year] helped me go out with a bang. It was a good time for it.”

Said Peterman: “I think a lot was his motivation and dedication, knowing ‘This is my last shot.’”

Sherman will continue his track career at Division II North Greenville, which he said edged out Coker for his services. While he said his high school coaches are what he’ll miss the most as he moves on, he’s eager for a new challenge.

“I’m ready,” Sherman said. “I wish I could go today.”

Peterman, who had known Sherman somewhat while coaching at Carvers Bay in recent years, said the athlete’s maturity played a big role this season. Sherman began to pay closer attention to the details, something that really showed at the state meet, Peterman said.

“He’s such a coachable kid and he listens to everything,” the coach said. “Once we arrived at the state meet, he was already on the field warming up.”

In the fall, Sherman will begin his collegiate career as a Crusader, and Peterman believes the athlete will once again be up to the challenge.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him, a chance for him to further his education,” Peterman said. “It will be good for him to get away a little bit to see how he handles that. It’s going to be a new challenge, but if he carries himself with the same work ethic as he did at Waccamaw it’s going to pay off. I have no doubts J.J. will be fine.”

Contact DAVID WETZEL at 626-0295. Follow sports news on Twitter @MYBSports.

The team

Boys Track and Field Athlete of the Year

J.J Sherman

School | Waccamaw

Class | Senior

Events | Sprints, jumps

Highlights | Won 100 meters and long jump and made the podium in the 400 (second) and 200 (third) at the Class AA state meet. North Greenville signee was Lower State champion in 100, 400 and long jump. Lower State champ in the 400 and runner-up in 200 at Lower State meet.

Jelin Bellamy

School | St. James

Class | Junior

Events | Sprints

Highlights | Placed fourth in 400 meters and was member of Sharks’ fifth-place 1,600-meter relay team at Class AAA state meet.

Joshua Bolden

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Sophomore

Events | Distance

Highlights | Member of Bears’ fifth-place 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter relay teams at Class A state meet.

Tavares Brown

School | Green Sea Floyds

Class | Senior

Events | Jumps

Highlights | Placed eighth in long jump at Class A state meet. Runner-up in event at Lower State meet.

Stephen Ciaramitaro

School | Carolina Forest

Class | Senior

Events | Distance

Highlights | Ran 4:50 in 1,600 meters at Class AAAA state qualifier. Finished second in 800 meters, third in 1,600 and fourth in 3,200 at Region VI meet.

Austin Copley

School | Carolina Forest

Class | Senior

Events | Hurdles, jump

Highlights | Finished ninth in 400-meter hurdles at Class AAAA state meet and broke school record in event.

Laterance Davis

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Junior

Events | Distance, hurdles

Highlights | Finished eighth in 400-meter hurdles and was member of Bears’ fifth-place 3,200-meter relay team at Class A state meet.

Desmond Dozier

School | Loris

Class | Junior

Events | Sprints

Highlights | Placed sixth in 100 meters and was member of Lions’ fifth-place 100-meter relay team at Class AA state meet.

Xavier Drayton

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Junior

Events | Sprints, distance

Highlights | Placed sixth in 800 meters at Class A state meet and was member of Bears’ fifth-place 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams.

Ethan Epstein

School | Myrtle Beach

Class | Junior

Events | Distance

Highlights | Region VII champion in 3,200 meters and Lower State qualifier in event.

Jackson Junkins

School | Waccamaw

Class | Freshman

Events | Sprints, jumps

Highlights | Placed seventh in 200 meters, sixth in pole vault and was member of Warriors’ sixth-place 1,600-meter relay team at Class AA state meet.

James Milton

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Junior

Events | Sprints

Highlights | Placed seventh in 800 meters at Class A state meet. Was runner-up in event at Lower State meet.

Trey Myers

School | St. James

Class | Sophomore

Events | Hurdles, sprints

Highlights | Placed sixth in 400-meter hurdles and was member of Sharks’ fifth-place 1,600-meter relay team at Class AAA state meet.

Joey O’Neil

School | Aynor

Class | Junior

Events | Distance

Highlights | Placed sixth in 1,600 meters at Class AA state meet.

Michael Pieterse

School | Carolina Forest

Class | Freshman

Events | Distance

Highlights | Placed sixth in 1,600 meters at Class AAAA state meet.

Tyrell Richard

School | Carvers Bay

Class | Senior

Events | Sprints

Highlights | Runner-up in 400 meters and member of Bears’ runner-up 400-meter and fifth-place 1,600-meter relay teams at Class A state meet. Lower State champ in 400 and runner-up in 100.

Coach of the Year

Bill Peterman

School | Waccamaw

Highlights | Led Warriors to third-place finish at Class AA state meet in first season coaching team.

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