Iron Horses' sports teams forge solid reputation in inaugural year
As the athletic director of the brand new Philip Simmons High School, Brion Packett has an eye on the won-loss records, because, just like everyone else, he wants to win.
He also has an eye toward the future because this year is about building a foundation as the Iron Horse teams face more experienced teams.
Philip Simmons fielded varsity teams in boys’ basketball and girls’ basketball in winter sports. The Iron Horses chose to go the junior varsity route in wrestling this season because it is considered a contact sport.
The boys’ basketball team won only one game in its initial season.
“We had some positive things happen despite the record,” Packett said. “We had a varsity team of seventh-, eighth-, ninth- and 10th-graders playing varsity against teams that had 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders. There’s a huge different between a 14-year-old boy and an 18-year-old young man.
“There were no false promises,” Packett added. “There was a learning curve and the kids worked hard all year to prepare. We laid the groundwork and foundation for next year.”
Jaylen Green was named the team’s MVP in basketball, while Hayes Tuttle earned the coach’s award. Luke Taylor received the Iron Horse award.
The girls’ basketball team posted a 5-10 record and enjoyed many positive experiences with such a young nucleus.
The wrestling team’s biggest challenge was to find competition and matches since many schools the size of Philip Simmons High do not field junior varsity teams.
The wrestling team, honored at a banquet last month, competed at the junior varsity level this season because the team. Team captains AJ McClanahan, Gavin Reiner and Kiamani Denmark received awards.
McClanahan and Denmark earned the coach’s award and Nathan Newman was named the junior varsity MVP.
The springs sports season promises to be busy and is already productive.
The track and field teams competed in their first major event this past weekend, the Sandlapper Classic, hosted by West Ashley High School.
Freshman standout Noah Ward led the Iron Horse boys with a first-place finish of 4:38.37 in the 1,600-meter run and finished second in the 800-meter run.
More than 50 student-athletes compete in track and field, and the other spring sports teams are well stocked.
That includes the soccer team, which competes at the junior varsity level because soccer is considered a contact sport. For this year, the team will be co-ed, and it already owns a victory, a 2-1 decision over the Palmetto Scholars Academy.
The baseball team also has shown great promise with some impressive early season performances.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is leadership because we are so young,” Packett said. “But overall, we have been impressed with our student-athletes’ efforts.”
Packett is happy with his teams. He’s also impressed with the school’s facilities.
“Our facilities are second to none,” he said. “It’s just like a small college campus with the facilities we have.”