A look back: Top 10 sports stories of 2012
As 2012 comes to a close, The Independent is taking a look back at the top 10 sports stories of 2012. This week features stories 6-10.
• 10: Stags cross country Austin Clewis Competes in AAA state meet
Berkeley Stags cross country runner Austin Clewis turned in a personal best time of 18:23 in the Class AAA State Cross Country meet on Nov. 3. Clewis, just a junior, turned in a time of 18:27 in the state qualifying meet on Oct. 27, to qualify for the state meet.
The 18:27 posting was a personal best for Clewis until he ran in the state meet.
“I got boxed in at the beginning and tripped on the first mile but I ran an 18:23 time,” Clewis said.
Clewis said that running with the state’s elite runners was a new experience for him and one he’d like to do again next year as a senior. “It was pretty cool running, knowing these were the fastest people in the state and I was representing Berkeley,” he said. “And yes, it makes me want to run there so much more so I can place way better and get a better time.
“Qualifying for state was the most important thing to me. Every day at practice I would tell myself, ‘If you want state, you better push it in every practice, no matter how tired you are or how bad you hurt.’ When I found out I’d made it, it was the greatest feeling ever.”
Clewis finished 96th out of 186 runners competing.
• 9: Lady Wolves capture region volleyball championship
The Timberland Lady Wolves successfully defended their Region 7AA volleyball crown with a perfect 10-0 mark. THS Coach Joy Elizondo, who guided the Lady Wolves to their second consecutive Region 7AA championship, was named Region 7AA Coach of the Year. In addition, Wolves players Destinee Wells and Jordan Smith, were named to the Class AA/A All-State team.
For Elizondo and her Lady Wolves, the program has come full circle over the last four years when Elizondo had to rebuild her program from the ground up, employing a team-first concept that her players bought into.
“The girls work well together and really have bought into the team concept we teach,” she said. “Individual talent is not as important as a team unit. They love their team and their school. They represent the best of what we have here at Timberland in the classroom and on the court.”
• 8: Cross wins first volleyball region title
The Cross Lady Trojans volleyball team made school history in 2012, winning the Region 6A championship for the first time.
“We did it! We made history!”
That’s what Cross volleyball coach Damian Johno told his team following the Lady Trojans’ tiebreaker win against Charleston Math and Science on Oct. 19. The Lady Trojans finished the season with a 16-7 overall record and a 9-1 Region 6A mark.
“I knew we would have a good chance at the title with my returning captains, Kortnee Johno and Shanyra Lisbon,” Johno said. “But with three first year starters, I also knew we had our work cut out for us.”
The Lady Trojans beat Bowman in the first round of the Class A state tournament and lost to Lake View in the second.
Two Lady Trojans were named to the AA/A All-State team. Shanyra Lisbon and Kortnee Johno were the first two Cross volleyball players to receive such high acclaim on the volleyball court.
• 7: Timberland track team performs well in AA state meet
The Timberland Wolves track team performed well at the state level, taking home a handful of second place finishes in several events.
Lee Mayes brought home a second place finish in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.19. The boys’ 4x400 relay team placed second behind Carolina Forest with a time of 42.54 seconds.
On the girls’ side senior Teaera Collins closed out her stellar scholastic track career with a silver medal, finishing second in the 200 meters with a time of 26.01seconds, while eighth grader Alliyah Reeves finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:25.62.
“My senior Teaera Collins was there to compete for her last time and my eighth grader Aaliyah Reaves was there to compete for her first time,” said Lady Wolves Coach Joy Elizondo. “Two very different feelings but equally as emotional for me when these young ladies medaled this past Saturday at the state meet.
“We’ve had a great run this year with this team placing ninth at state, and they all competed well. I hope to continue to watch these young people at Timberland strive to achieve great things next spring. It’s been fun.”
• 6: Trojans Jalen Frazier wins third straight state track title
Cross High School’s Jalen Frazier has pulled off a three-peat, winning the Class A high jump competition for the third straight year with a winning leap of 6-4.
Both Frazier and silver medalist Jesse Wideman of McCormick scratched at 6-6, but Frazier took top spot by virtue of fewer misses.
“The first time Jalen missed all day was at 6-6,” said Cross Track Coach Antonio Simmons. “The other was missing all day. It’s going to be a long time before something like this happens again.”
Frazier also brought home a pair of second place finishes in the triple long jump and long jump.
The Trojan boys’ 4x100 relay of Diamonte and Dionte Evans, Olin Pinckney and Devontae Shepherd brought home a third place finish. Diamonte Evans was third in the 100-meter and eighth in the 200-meter dashes.
On the girls side for Cross, Shanyra Lisbon placed second in the 100-meter and third in the 200-meter dashes. Tichina Johnson also placed eighth in the 200 meters.
The Lady Trojans 4x100 of Lisbon, Johnson, Marcheaya Gilliard and Jayla Ravenell finished third in the state. The Lady Trojans’ 4x400 relay team placed fourth. The members are Lisbon, Johnson, Gilliard and Khadijah Hunter.
“We had a good year,” Simmons said. “We have a lot of kids returning. The future for Cross Trojans track looks bright.
Next week: The top 5 sports stories of 2012.