Kaleb Jenness (copy)

Wando High School graduate Kaleb Jenness spikes the ball for Ball State's men's volleyball team. Provided/Ball State Athletics

The push to make boys' volleyball a varsity sport in S.C. high schools will take a big step Wednesday with the first tri-match featuring teams from Lowcountry schools.

Club teams from Wando, Stratford and Ashley Ridge will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Ashley Ridge High School.

According to Kelly Owens of the Palmetto Volleyball Region Association, the spring 2019 season will be a pilot season across the state, with 14 schools committing boys volleyball teams to compete.

Interest is so high that several schools, including Stratford, will field two boys' teams this spring, Owens said.

Last fall,  the first boys' middle school volleyball league was sponsored by Mount Pleasant Recreation and the City of Charleston. Owens said a National Federation of High Schools survey showed there were 24 states with 2,472 schools with boys' volleyball teams in 2017-18.

Erskine College, with assistance from Dixie High School, will sponsor a boys’ high school volleyball tournament March 9 at Belk Arena. Dixie High, Hillcrest, Ashley Ridge, the Greenville Hurricanes and Branchville will participate.

The push for boys' volleyball follows the success of Wando graduate Kaleb Jenness, who became the first NCAA Division I men's volleyball player (at Ball State) despite not having a high school team to play for.

Sandlapper track and field

Spring sports are underway here in the Lowcountry and the official kickoff to the area high school track and field season, the Sandlapper Classic, was hosted by West Ashley over the weekend.

A total of 19 girls teams and 16 boys team, mostly from the local area but a few from outside the tri-county, competed in a traditional track meet setting. Eight events were won by area athletes in the girls meet while locals took 11 events in the boys meet.

The Wando boys team was crowned team champion, followed by Beaufort and Summerville in the top three. The girls meet champion was Miller Grove High of Dekalb, Georgia, followed in the team standings by West Forsyth of North Carolina and Wando in third. James Island and Beaufort tied for fourth-place.

Individually, Angel Frank of Summerville won the girls’ 100-meter dash and Isabella Darce of Academic Magnet won the 400-meter race. Wando’s Carie Nelson won the 400-meter hurdles and James Island’s Tia Lucas won the high jump.

Bishop England’s Grace Hotchkiss won the pole vault while Fort Dorchester’s Taylor Smith was the high jump champion. Jayla Grant of Wando won the shot put and Berkeley’s Karmen Taylor won the discus.

Berkeley’s boys had a pair of double-winners as Tre Morrison won the 200 and 400 and teammate Jaquon Williams won the 110 and 400 hurdles.

Wando had three individual winners in Anderson Infante (800), Dillon McCarty (pole vault) and Paul Kowalchik (shot put).

Summerville’s Bryce Ravenell won the high jump and triple jump and Academic Magnet’s Colin Baker easily won the 1600 meter run. West Ashley’s Jaelin Pinckney won the long jump.

Touchberry in Hall of Fame

The S.C. Basketball Coaches Association will induct former Macedonia and Timberland girls basketball coach Cleve Touchberry into its Hall of Fame in a ceremony on March 15 in Columbia. Touchberry is one of five inductees in this year’s class.

Touchberry coached at Macedonia from 1980-1996 and became Timberland’s coach when Macedonia merged with St. Stephen High until his retirement in 2013. The coach won posted a record of 703-200 and guided Timberland to state titles in 2005 and 2011. He won 15 region titles and advanced to the Lower State championship game nine times. He won two Lower State titles at Timberland and three of his Macedonia High teams were Lower State runner-up.

8-AAAAA basketball honors

Region 8-AAAAA recently announced its all-region teams for winter sports.

The boys player of the year in basketball was Kenyatta Jenkins of West Ashley while Wildcats coach Ronnie DuPre was named coach of the year.

All-region selections from West Ashley were Peter Musci and Devin Ramsey. Jalin Williams and Ahmad Brown represented Ashley Ridge while Romello Grant and Jalen Bailey were selected from Stall.

Fort Dorchester’s representatives were Antoine Parker and Mason Grant with Summerville’s Mark Mazyck rounding out the boys list.

Fort Dorchester sophomore Aujea Bowman was named the girls player of the year with her coach, Cesurian Champagne, taking coach of the year honors.

Other Fort Dorchester all-region picks included Au’Zhane Allard and LeTerrlyn LeShore. Vanessa Blake and Katie Zailski are Ashley Ridge’s selections while Shanece Mitchell is Stall’s lone representative.

Anaze’ Ravenel and Kristen Jenkins are from West Ashley, and Shelby Sanders and Carya Manick represented Summerville.