The next four weeks will be the most important for high school teams as state championships for spring sports will be decided in a flurry of action through the middle of May.
The first official state champion of spring is the Porter-Gaud girls lacrosse team, which beat Ashley Hall 15-3 to claim a third consecutive state title in SCISA. Porter-Gaud and Ashley Hall remain the only two schools in SCISA playing girls lacrosse, but Porter-Gaud coach Brent Hilpert said that should not detract from his team’s 12-3 season.
Porter-Gaud’s three losses this season came to S.C. High School League powers Wando, Bishop England and Oceanside Collegiate. The Cyclones' competitive schedule ranked them ninth overall in South Carolina by Maxpreps.
“I feel like we had a very competitive team, certainly not quite at the level of some of the powerhouses, but very competitive and worthy,” said Hilpert, who is also the school’s Dean of Students. “It was important for us to play a very high level of competition so that we can continue to grow our own program. One of my goals coming in was to put this program in a position where we can be competitive with any team in South Carolina. I think we took a big step this year.”
Senior Becky Van Kirk provided the leadership for this year’s team. The University of Chicago signee is one of the state’s top players and produced more than 50 goals this season. The team’s other seniors are Nelle Alexander, Halle Kilburn, Marion Kohlheim and Kathryn Lucas.
Two impact newcomers were sophomore Mia MacLean and freshman Claire Oldford, both transfers who brought extensive playing experience to the program. MacLean also scored more than 50 goals this season and was the team’s leading scorer overall.
“The addition of Mia and Claire was instrumental because they came with a lot of high level club experience,” Hilpert said.
The S.C. High School League will crown its state champions in lacrosse on Saturday at Irmo High School. The league has boys and girls champions in Class AAAAA and AAAA, with the latter including schools from AA and AAA.
SCISA will decide its state champions in golf on Monday and Tuesday at the Hackler Course in Conway. Porter-Gaud will host the SCISA state track and field championships on May 4.
The state baseball playoffs in SCHSL began on Tuesday and the softball and boy tennis postseason begin on Thursday. The SCHSL soccer playoffs begin May 1-2 and the SCISA postseason begins May 6-7.
Two of the area’s top senior basketball players have made their college decisions. First Baptist point guard Joseph Powell is signing to play at Erskine College, while Oceanside Collegiate guard Isaiah Archie is headed to Emmanuel College.
Powell, a three-year starter and three-year captain at First Baptist, averaged 10.1 points and 4.3 assists per game this past season. He scored a career-high 31 points in a state semifinal playoff loss to Hammond.
Archie averaged 15.2 points and 3.5 rebounds per game for the Landsharks.
Bishop England’s Grace Ann Carlson, a two-time all-state selection in girls lacrosse, has signed to play at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Carlson is one of the anchors for the 17-0 Bishops, scoring 51 goals with 62 assists this season.