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Banquet Editorial: Banquets bring Us Togehter To Honor Great Accomplishments...And To make Some More Memories

Banquets Bring Us All Together To Honor Great Accomplishments…. And To Make Some More Memories!

Columbia—While we live in a world wrought with negativity, it is the sports activities we participate in, or cheer on, that unites all of us in the grand ball room of Seawells today as we gather for the 33rd straight June to celebrate the hard work and positive accomplishments of student athletes in the sports of baseball, softball, track, Lacrosse, soccer, tennis and golf from throughout South Carolina.

We gather today to honor those student athletes (and some coaches) who excelled in the spring sports of walk-off home runs, a perfectly placed penalty kick, a school record high jump, a 35- foot putt for a birdie, and a perfectly timed cross-over pass at the goal that led to victory in a state championship Lacrosse match. These are just a few examples of the thousands and thousands of special moments created by the all-state honorees filling up the grand ball room of Seawells today!   

There are around 265 public and independent schools within the 46 counties of South Carolina and young people from over 50 per cent of those schools are represented at this banquet this afternoon. While we honor nearly 700 athletes and coaches in the various winter sports, keep in mind that these honorees are drawn mainly through a balloting process from a talent pool of around 35,000 athletes! This means around one in every 50 athletes have earned earn HSSR all-state honors making it a very competitive process indeed. 

If you find yourself being celebrated today, you are among the chosen ones indeed!

The HSSR welcomes newly hired Charleston Southern University head softball coach Venus Taylor as our keynote speaker to the podium at Seawells today. Coach Tylor helped lead the Buccaneers to a post season playoff experience in her first season at the helm of the Division I program. She will tell those honorees and guests gathered today at Seawells that she is focused on recruiting well “in our own back yard.” She will strive to build a winning program with the future foundation of her team comprised of in-state talent from right here in South Carolina.

In all honesty, this has not always been the goal of some previous coaches at Charleston Southern so her efforts to evaluate and sign more South Carolina based players is the chief reason the HSSR invited her to speak today. We promote high school athletics in South Carolina as our mission so it is always exciting to see an up and coming coach like Coach Taylor come to a statewide banquet, where softball is among those sports being honored, and announce that a few of the young ladies in the room could end up in her program with a goal of winning the Big South tournament in the very near future.

For example, Hanahan catcher/center fielder Ashlyn Cribb has recently signed with Charleston Southern and Coach Taylor has also brought in Brooklyn Brewington an infielder from Andrews High School who started most of the season as a true freshman for the Bucs.     

The HSSR also extends a huge thank you to all the many athletic booster clubs and athletic departments around the state who sponsored guest tickets for the parents of many of the honored athletes in attendance today.  Please know that every honored athlete and coach today attended this banquet free of charge. If it had not been for the generosity of many of the as well as parents and well-wishers purchasing guest tickets this $35,000 event would not have been possible to put on. It is a worthwhile event and we have been sponsoring such events since 1987.

This all-state event will attract nearly 800 people as proud parents, grandparents, coaches and other caring relatives gather to pay homage to the sweat equity and dedication of so many devoted hard-working student athletes. This event recognizes the good deeds of so many student athletes representing communities from all areas of the Palmetto state. Our future is on solid footing based on the talents of the young people we honor today. We extend congratulations to all the athletes and coaches we honor today.

We usually have more than one speaker at the Spring Sports all-state awards banquet. However, in the interest of time we are hoping to be concluded with the banquet today in around one hour after Coach Taylor concludes her keynote talk.  Because of this the HSSR is requesting that all honorees and guests stay to the conclusion of the banquet, with all athletes given equal respect as they pass through the awards line as the microphone is passed down the line with each honoree getting to introduce themselves to all in attendance. We have asked Coach Taylor to limit her remarks to around 15-17 minutes.  

One great benefit of everyone staying for the entire banquet, with the promise of a fast-paced event, is that honorees can take back awards to their classmates who could not attend this event today, once the event concludes. When you leave early you just might be leaving behind a well-deserved award for one of your best friends back home. Your understanding of not leaving early is greatly appreciated.

The seven spring sports being honored at Seawells today continue to bring out the best in these hard working and dedicated athletes. In soccer it is all about great foot skills, speed and running fast while dribbling a ball on the run. Soccer requires teamwork and strategy and it is among the oldest sports in the world.  Baseball was invented in America and it is a sport where a senior can sign for first round money right out of high school, or college in the annual draft, and become an instant millionaire doing something they love to do for fun.

Two former Stratford High baseball players, Justin Smoak and Matt Weiters, who grew up in my hometown of Goose Creek were once honored at this very banquet. In fact, Smoak committed to South Carolina from the podium at Seawells as keynote speaker Ray Tanner looked on with a huge smile on his face. Both players were first round draft picks out of college.

Softball is a vastly improving sport in the state of South Carolina. Clemson will begin competing in the sport next year and two of them in-state signees Carston Puckett of Cardinal Newman and Hannah Goodwin of White Knoll are expected in the grand ball room of Seawells today. If you are a Tiger fan at the banquet, please wish them well as they become members of the first ever softball team at Clemson.

 Leave this banquet hall today encouraged that the future of our state and nation is in good hands based on the quality of young people we all applauded today Seawell's. These young people are our future leaders in all aspects of our economy and are becoming productive citizens in this great nation we all live in. We sincerely thank everyone for the partnership we are so fortunate to share with the high school athletic programs across our great state!

Today at Seawells we convened into the sanctuary of a very positive moment in the lives of many dedicated student athletes. We need to keep encouraging these honorees to keep striving to be the very best they can be in all aspects of life.  

We thank Coach Taylor for sharing some of her thoughts with us today. Best wishes to graduating seniors as they move on to new challenges. Thanks for all the wonderful memories you made during your outstanding prep careers.    

 

 

 

 

 


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