"There were times in the past when I felt like no one even cared," Raven Saunders wrote recently about her efforts to become one of the best high school shot-putters in the nation.
Saunders, a senior at Burke High School and a national record-holder in the shot put, has discovered in recent weeks that people do care. She has reached her fundraising goal of $5,000 to attend the U.S. Junior Track and Field Championships in July in Eugene, Oregon.
As of Thursday, Saunders had raised $5,320 from 80 donations at her site on www.gofundme.com, including more than $1,000 from families of track athletes at Bishop England High School.
Saunders said that will enable her and her coach to travel to the U.S. Juniors, where she will have a chance to earn a spot on the World Junior Championships later in July.
"I thank every single person who made a donation or who got the word out from the bottom of my heart," Saunders said.
Saunders will be competing this weekend at the state track and field championships in Columbia, along with other Lowcountry athletes. She set a national high school indoor record with a shot put of 56 feet, 71/2 inches at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in March. Then, in April, she set the U.S. high school outdoor mark with a throw of 56-81/4, bettering the previous mark of 54-103/4 set in 2003 by Michelle Carter, an Olympian current American record holder.
Bishop England senior Caroline Yodice signed to play tennis at Erskine College. She led the Bishops to four straight region titles and three consecutive state titles and was named All-Lowcountry in 2012 and 2013 and all-state in 2013.
The James Island Charter High School boys golf team will compete in the Class AAA state tournament Monday at the Members Course at Wildewood in Columbia. Members of the team are Lucas Mcnellis, Kyle Sawyer, Drayton Stewart, Joseph Keene, Luke Bell and coach Jake Jureki.
The Bishop England boys golf team will play in the Class AA state tournament Monday and Tuesday at Columbia's Indian River Golf Club. Playing for the Bishops will be Jamie Wilson, Wilson Yearout, B.J. Grevey, Ben Burton and Todd Fanning with coach John Greavu and assistant Jeff Burton.
Former Goose Creek offensive line coach Buddy King, who spent the last two seasons on John McKissick's staff at Summerville, has returned to Goose Creek.
Goose Creek head coach Chuck Reedy confirmed that King is currently going through spring drills with the Gators and will be on the staff in 2014.
King coached at Goose Creek in 2010 and 2011, helping lead the Gators to the Division II-AAAA state title in 2011.
Hudson Taylor of First Baptist High School committed to play basketball at Columbia International. Taylor, a 6-4 forward, averaged 16 points per game as a senior.
Region 7-AAAA announced its all-region teams in baseball, softball and boys tennis.
The all-region baseball team includes Jonathan Sabo, Tyrie Blalock, Taylor Oden and Jordan Merritt of West Ashley; Noah LoCasio, Jeff Gottesman and Oliver Hill of Wando; Chris Singleton, Cody Smith and Tyler Rio of Goose Creek; Cody Maw and Tanner Coleman of Cane Bay; and Jordan Lacavera and Jamison Mobbs of Stratford. Coach of the year is Goose Creek's Chris Pond.
All-region softball players are Kayli Miles, Nicole Linthicum, Skye Moore and Emily Harmon of Stratford; Virginia Moore, Kayla Bannister and Morgan Howard of Wando; Katie Painter, Ashton Coker and Lexi Thompson of West Ashley; Beth Bourgeois, Peggy Lou Rochay and Traci Howell of Cane Bay; and Bailey Craven and Eternal Fuller of Goose Creek. Coach of the year is Stratford's Debra Tolar.
In boys tennis: Andrew DaCosta, Forrest Redden and Woods Browder of Wando; Dylan Sides and Griffin Wong from Stratford; Alex Amble and Tyler Hughes of Cane Bay; Ted Anastapoulo and Stratas Anastapoulo of West Ashley; and Jermaine Mitchell and James Gaza of Goose Creek. Coach of the year is Sam Ross of Stratford.
Here's the SCISA All-Region 3-AAA baseball team: Lewis Vaughn, Brock Tobin and Kris Kuhm, Pinewood Prep; Noah Hammond and Garrett Jarrell, Northwood Academy; Luke Higgs and Reese Dolyniuk, Hilton Head Christian; Cory Roberts, First Baptist; Bo Harrell, Harrison Frickman, A.J. Sessions, Porter-Gaud; Tyler Fox, John Sheehan, Randy Young, Greg Warren, Kevin Campbell, Hilton Head Prep. Tyler Fox of Hilton Head Prep is the player of the year, and Phil Tobin of Pinewood Prep is the coach of the year.