Top sports stories of 2017!
The year in sports, 2017, focused on something old – and something new. The old included Bishop England’s continued dominance in numerous sports while the Hanahan Hawks continued to stand out in boys’ track and field. And there was the 25th anniversary of the Charleston Battery playing soccer in the Holy City. The something new was the opening of the new Philip Simmons High School. The Iron Horses enjoyed plenty of success despite fielding teams that included mostly rookies. There were plenty of standout individual performances, including Shelby Rogers’ continued rise in the WTA rankings, while Russian Daria Kasatkina took home the Volvo Car Open’s top prize. JANUARY • Michael Runey III, a member of the Bishop England’s 1963 state championship basketball team and a longtime benefactor was honored before a basketball game at the Father O’Brien Gymnasium. Because of his generosity, the new tennis complex was named the Michael L. Runey III Tennis Center, home of the Monsignor John L. Manning Tennis Courts. Runey passed away a few months later. FEBRUARY • Two Hanahan High School student-athletes took part in the Berkeley County School District’s “National Signing Day Ceremony.” Hawk volleyball standout Madison Malloch signed with Charleston Southern University while softball player MacKenzie Dyson signed with North Greenville. MARCH • The Bishop England girls’ basketball team won another state title with a 48-47 victory over Newberry with a last-second basket at the Colonial Life Arena. It was the Bishops’ fourth straight state title and fifth in the last six years. • Also in March, the Charleston Battery began its 25th year in the Holy City. The anniversary marked the Battery’s status of the longest continuously operating professional soccer team in America. APRIL • Daria Kasatkina was crowned champion of the 2017 Volvo Car Open as the 19-year-old Russian topped Jelena Ostapenko, 6-3, 6-1 to claim her first WTA title and up her record to 9-1 in Charleston. Kasatkina joined Chris Evert, Tracy Austin, Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis and Sabine Lisicki as teenage winners of the Volvo Car Open that began 45 years ago as the Family Circle Cup. MAY • The High School League held its Weekend of Champions, and the Daniel Island area schools harvested gold. The Bishop England girls’ lacrosse team won its second consecutive state championship, while the BE boys claimed their first. • The Hanahan softball team won its second state title in the programs’ history, while the Hawk boys won their second straight state crown in track and field. • But the most memorable state championship just might have belonged to the Bishop England baseball team. Mike Darnell watched as his Bishops defeated Seneca, 4-2, to win the crown. After the Bishops returned home from Lexington High School, Darnell visited the grave of his father, Joe, who passed away in 2014. Darnell left his state championship medal at his father’s grave. It was Darnell’s fourth state championship at the school, but first since his father passed away. JUNE • The Director’s Cup, an award given to the most successful high school athletic programs in the Palmetto State, had a new name: The Carlisle Cup. But the cup once again went to an old and familiar school: Bishop England. The Bishops have won the cup every year since its inception in time for the 2002-2003 academic year. The Bishops won nine state championships in the 2016-17 academic year. JULY • Former Daniel Island resident Shelby Rogers picked up the first two Wimbledon victories of her career. Rogers, World No. 70, fared well at Wimbledon, posting impressive victories in the first two rounds and then battled World No. 1 Angelique Kerber. But it turned out to be Kerber’s day. Rogers took the first set 6-4. She broke Kerber in the third game of the second set and grabbed a 4-2 lead. But the German rebounded to end Rogers’ impressive run. AUGUST • The Philip Simmons High School football team fared well in its first home game in school history with a 33-0 victory over Stall in a junior varsity contest. Coach Eric Bendig’s squad played in front of about 1,000 fans who showed up for the historic event. Quarterback Omaro Asby completed 5 of 9 passing for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Asby rushed four times for 72 yards and a score while Solly Best carried seven times for 67 yards and two scores. SEPTEMBER • Bishop England quarterback Leo Albano set another school record in a victory over Academic Magnet. The senior broke Derek Hughes’ school record of 3,229 yards rushing. It marked the second time this season that Albano broke a BE career record. Just a few weeks earlier, Albano bested Andrew Bunch’s and Hughes’ shared career mark of 44 rushing touchdowns. OCTOBER • The Bishop England girls’ swimming team won its first state crown, scoring 427.5 points during the South Carolina High School League State Championships, which were contested at the University of South Carolina’s natatorium. In the boys’ meet, St. Joseph collected 462 points to deny Bishop England a second straight state title. The girls won only one gold medal and that came in the 200-yard freestyle relay. But the Bishops had great depth to deliver the victory. NOVEMBER • The Bishop England volleyball team continued to be the jewel of the school’s athletic program. The Lady Bishops won their 18th straight consecutive state championship – a national record - with a three-set victory over Powdersville. • The Bishops’ girls’ tennis team continued to shine as coach Kristen Fleming Arnold’s squad won its seventh consecutive title. DECEMBER • Charlie Patterson announced his resignation as Hanahan’s football coach after 10 years at the helm of the program. Patterson won 71 games in a decade at the school, but only seven the past two seasons. The Hawks recorded back to back 11 victory seasons at the height of Patterson’s tenure.