Let The Games Begin – Fall Sports Preview is here

If you are like us, you flipped the calendar to August and felt a slight shift in the air. The days are slowly getting shorter and soon, maybe…hopefully, the weather will get a little cooler.

For us, the spectators, seasons are just getting started. But for athletes and coaches, preparation started months ago. While others’ summer days were filled with sleeping in and relaxing by the pool, these coaches and athletes spent their days designing schemes, running sprints, lifting weights, swimming laps. Getting stronger. Getting faster. Getting better. Because that’s what makes the difference come October and November. That’s what gives one team an edge.

We don’t see the countless hours of blood, sweat and tears poured into these teams in the offseason. But we cheer for a return on those investments for athletes and coaches.

Westwood athletics saw some returns last year. Volleyball and football made it to round three of the playoffs.  Cross Country runners made a showing at State. Many of the athletes from these teams return this year, looking to avenge their season-ending losses.

Eagle football was bumped in the first round last year, but looks to push farther this year. To do so, they’ll have to get past newly realigned region foe Wardlaw. Cross Country enters its second season in school history with a new coach – Kristen Chaisson. Volleyball will have to overcome last season’s leadership struggles to find success on the court, especially against a tough Laurens team.

The Griffin tennis program returns strong players and a settled coaching staff. The sky could be the limit for Syreeta Thompson’s squad. Football had a bumpy start last season, but had a strong run until Emerald dashed their playoff hopes in the third round. The region realignment places Keenan into the region, but they expect the toughest opponents continue to be Chester, Camden and Indian Land.

Blythewood’s region shifted with the loss of White Knoll and addition of Lugoff-Elgin. Bengal volleyball, tennis and golf look to build on the foundations established last year. Will Epps returns for a second year as head of boys’ cross country and Aleshia Hawkins takes over the girls’ squad.  Perhaps the biggest change comes with the new face of the football program, Jason Seidel. Seidel, looking to change the culture of the program after its dismal 2017 season, is ‘all in.’

Soon the stadiums, courts and gyms will be filled with our cheers (or silent golf claps). Exciting, isn’t it. A blank slate – a new season on the horizon. Where will we end up in October and November?  Only time will tell.

Honor Roll

We thank the many talented people who helped make the 2018 Fall Sports Preview happen. First, our sports writers.

They report weekly from the trenches, day and night, near and far – Ross Burton, Worthy Evans, Martha Ladd and Blake Wooten.

And our photographers who contribute vivid images of our athletes in action: Ross Burton, Leroy Howard, DeAnna Robinson, Joe Seibles, Martha Ladd and Kristy Kimball Massey, Carolina Sports Photography and especially our designers Ashley Ghere and Callie Ladd Sims.

We also thank the following for their time and contributions: Paul Brigman, Ross Burton, Kristen Chaisson, Dustin Curtis, Demetrius Davis, Kelly Edrington, Will Epps, Robin Gaithers, Mary Hall, Aleshia Hawkins, Mary Hunter,  Ciji Kuhlmann, Brice Mann, Jason Minkel, Rachel Peake, Jason Powell, Terrell Roach, Jason Seidel, Syreeta Thompson

Pick up a copy of the Fall Sports Preview (28 pages) today!

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