Socastee hasn’t been taking the lumps typically associated with a move to the state’s largest class.
The Braves, playing in Class AAAA for the first time since 2003, have already proven they aren’t going to have some of the normal struggles associated with the move. At the same time, many of the fall sports teams have yet to do anything they weren’t already doing.
“We been playing all these guys already every year in every sport pretty much,” Athletics Director Tim Renfrow said. “I haven’t really been surprised. But it’s been welcome.
“If you haven’t played those guys, they could intimidate you.”
That certainly hasn’t been the case.
The Socastee volleyball team finished in a two-way tie for first place with Carolina Forest in Region VI-AAAA and was named the champion for playoff purposes. Girls golf finished third in the region and had two players finish in the top five individually in advance of this week’s Lower State tournament. Cross country has its region meet this week with expectations of finishing among the team leaders.
Girls tennis finished second in the region and will play a home match on Wednesday in the opening round of the state playoffs.
And the Braves football team is 6-2 and tied for second in the region standings.
Renfrow said his measuring stick will be how his teams compete at the state level. The bulk of the postseason tournaments fire up this week.
The Braves had respectable finishes in the one sport that has had its postseason event. The boys swimming team finished 13th in the state meet on Oct. 11. That placement was 16 spots ahead of the next-highest region finisher, West Florence. The girls swimming team landed at 16th overall, 12 spots in front of West Florence and 13 ahead of Carolina Forest.
It’s the type of overall list of performances the Braves used in 2013-2014, one of their best across the board. In Class AAA last year, all but four programs at the school qualified for their respective postseasons, with several teams making deep runs in head-to-head format sports.
Loris-Dillon showdown on tap
Eight weeks after the 2014 season started for Loris, the game people have been talking about most is on tap.
The Lions, ranked No. 2 in Class AA, will play host to Dillon, the top-ranked team and winner of four of the last six state titles in that division. The winner more than likely earns the region championship and the top overall seed in the Class AA, Division I playoffs, which begin Nov. 7.
Win or lose, though, Jamie Snider said this one isn’t the make-or-break contest so many are making it out to be.
“The road to a state title goes through Dillon, South Carolina. That’s just a fact,” Snider said this week. “A team is going to have to beat Dillon. They’re going to have to beat them in the regular season. And then they’re going to face them again in the playoffs.”
Snider went on to say that despite his team’s No. 2 state ranking, the region has been clearly dominated by Dillon, which has won the region title every year except one since moving to Class AA in 2006.
“A lot of people like to put us in the category as Dillon,” he said. “I think we’re in the category as everyone else. … I still say it’s Dillon and then the rest of us.”
Dillon and Loris will kick off The Sun News Game of the Week at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Football this and that
With Conway’s win over Socastee last week, coach Chuck Jordan recorded his 260th victory at the school and overall. It moved him into sole possession of 12th place in state history. … Myrtle Beach (8-0 overall, 3-0 Region VII-AAA) can clinch the region championship with a win at Georgetown (6-2, 2-1) on Friday. The Seahawks won five straight region titles between 2007-2011 before Socastee finished atop the region the past two seasons. … Carolina Forest sophomore Dyverse Simmons has taken over the area’s lead in rushing yards after he went for 206 in a loss to South Florence last week. Simmons now has 926 yards in seven games, is averaging 7.2 yards per carry and has reached triple digits six times.
Blitz Weekly Web Chat
The next episode of the Blitz Weekly Web Chat with WBTW’s Conan Gasque and The Sun News’ high schools reporter Ian Guerin will air at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The show will wrap up the Week 8 action, preview all of the Week 9 games and continue breaking down the playoff hopes for area teams. It can be viewed live at MyrtleBeachOnline.com or WBTW.com, and both sites will have the show available for archived viewing.
2015 IP Classic field released
The eight teams participating in the 2015 IP Classic baseball tournament in Georgetown have been announced.
Class AAAA teams Lexington, Summerville, Wando and Rock Hill will join Class AAA schools A.C. Flora, Belton-Honea Path, Wren and host school Georgetown. The tournament will be played March 5-8 at Mike Johnson Park.
A.C. Flora, the tournament winner in 2013 and 2014, also went on to win the Class AAA state championship each season. Last spring, Wando, Lexington and Rock Hill each qualified for their respected Lower State or Upper State tournaments in Class AAAA, while Wren and A.C. Flora joined that distinction in Class AAA.
This will be the 25th year of the IP Classic, which started in 1991 as a four-team tournament.
Region VII-AAA volleyball honors
Myrtle Beach outside hitter Gracie Davis was named the Region VII-AAA Player of the Year, the region’s coaches announced Tuesday.
Davis, just an eighth-grader, led the Seahawks to another top-two regular-season finished (tied with North Myrtle Beach). She was one of three Myrtle Beach players to earn all-region honors, and all three – including fellow outside hitter Maggie Slabinski, a junior, and junior middle hitter Emily Wunder – were first-team selections.
North Myrtle Beach libero Lauren Linta and outside hitter Maggie Hash and St. James setter Mallory Farmer rounded out the first-team selections.
Myrtle Beach’s Larry Church was named the Coach of the Year after the Seahawks won the region tournament.
For the full All-Region VII-AAA teams, visit the Prep Talk Blog at MyrtleBeachOnline.com.