wando

The Wando girls swim team celebrates its Class AAAAA state championship last year. The Wando girls and boys teams are both competing for their third straight state titles in Columbia on Monday. Provided/SCHSL 

The weather is finally getting a bit cooler, which signals the start of the hottest and most intense competition of the high school fall sports season.

Championship season has arrived in the Palmetto State with multiple state titles to be decided over the next seven weeks. The chase begins this weekend as the S.C. High School League holds its state swimming finals on Saturday and Monday. The Class AAA (10:30 a.m.) and AAAA (3:30 p.m.) meets are Saturday at the USC Natatorium, with the Class AAAAA meet set for Monday, starting at 6:15 p.m.

Wando should be a state contender in the Class AAAAA meet, having swept both the boys and girls Region 7-AAAAA titles. Both teams won every event at the region meet, and both are two-time defending state champions.

On the girls team, Gabi Reed (200 freestyle), Ellis Pitts (50 freestyle), Estelle Bauer (500 freestyle) and Mary Shaw (100 breaststroke) are currently ranked among the state’s top 10 performers in their respective events.

Ashley Ridge’s Abbie Hassell is ranked in the top 10 for 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. Summerville’s Cassidy Lima is ranked in both events as well.

Wando’s Matthew Gush will be a state contender in the 500 freestyle, an event he won gold in last year. Teammates CJ Hills (200 IM and 100 backstroke) and Noah Davey (100 breaststroke) also are ranked in the top 10 in their events. Ethan Williams of Ashley Ridge is ranked in the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

Oceanside Collegiate’s girls team is looking to take the next step this fall. The Landsharks were state runner-up a year ago. Kendal Chunn is highly-ranked in the 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley, while Chrisman Rand is ranked in the 100 breaststroke. Chunn is the defending state champion in the 200 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

Bishop England should have several swimmers competing for individual titles in Class AAA. The Bishops’ boys team was state runner-up two years ago. Academic Magnet was the AAA state runner-up last year.

SCISA will hold its state championships on Oct. 19 in Augusta. Porter-Gaud’s boys and girls teams will be seeking a fifth consecutive state championship.

Porter-Gaud’s Elysse Pardus will be a state contender in several events, her best being the 500 and 200 freestyle events, as well as the 100 butterfly. Pardus set the state record in the 200 at last year’s state meet. Teammate Mattie Hood has the state’s top time this fall in the 200 IM.

The SCISA state girls golf tournament was being played this week. Local teams participating include Porter-Gaud, First Baptist, Palmetto Christian, Ashley Hall and Pinewood Prep.

The SCISA state girls tennis playoffs begin Oct. 14 with finals set for Oct. 19. Ashley Hall is the defending state champion in Class AAA.

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