Jake Ward receives Hanahan High School's top athletic honor

Student-athlete Jake Ward performed double duty for most of his spring seasons at Hanahan High School.

Ward practiced with the Hawks’ track and field team from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. and then headed over to the soccer pitch where he practiced with the soccer team from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Then, it was time to head home and perform his main duty, and that was to study, do homework and decide on a college matriculation plan.

The talent, hard work and ambition paid off recently when he was named the Hanahan Male Athlete of the Year at the school’s Senior Awards Night.

Ashlyn Cribb was named the Female Athlete of the Year.

The awards go to the students based on their work ethic on and off the field – and their character.

“It’s kind of a nice way to cap off your sports career,” said Ward, who earned four varsity letters. “It’s nice to be recognized for your effort.”

Ward played football for four years as well as being a member of the track and field team. He was a member of the soccer team, and that’s where the double duty kicked in until this year, when the track team had to practice at Charleston Southern University because the Hawks’ track was being renovated.

Ward made sure he kept his grades up despite his busy schedule.

“My mom (Alicia) made sure of that,” he said. “In my house, academics come before athletics. She made it clear the grades couldn’t slip.”

Ward described himself as a good student, and that might just be a case of being modest.

He also received the Scholar-Athlete Award and the Hanahan Athletic Booster Club Scholarship.

He will attend the University of South Carolina in the fall as a Capstone scholar. He chose USC over Clemson and Wofford.

“It was probably one of the toughest decisions I’ll ever have to make,” Ward said. “I had three amazing schools to choose from. My final college visit ended at USC, and it seemed to be a natural fit.”

Ward, who qualified for four state meets, said track and field was the sport that will be the hardest to leave behind when he matriculates to Columbia. His family is very involved in the sport. His younger siblings, Noah and Grace, both shine at Philip Simmons High School, while his father, Justin, still competes in triathlons. He said one of his highlights was competing against Noah in the 800-meter run a couple of years ago.

He was a member of the 4x800-meter relay team that qualified for state. There were obstacles to overcome. Traveling to practice at CSU wasn’t easy and Ward had to adjust to a new coach his senior season.

“But it turned out to be awesome,” Ward said. “Everyone set a personal best. It was a great year.”

Cribb played softball and volleyball throughout her high school career and will be playing softball at Charleston Southern next spring. She also received the Hanahan Athletic Booster Club Scholarship.

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