Cyclones gearing for more state championships this spring
By David Shelton
Charleston – With about a month remaining in the 2017 spring sports season, the athletes and teams at Porter-Gaud are once again gearing up for extended performance in the state playoffs.
The boys’ soccer team has been one of the state’s top SCISA programs over the last few years and coach Juan Roncancio is looking for a veteran group of seniors to lead the way this spring.
Porter-Gaud has played a difficult schedule to date, winning eight of 14 matches against several larger public school programs. The Cyclones have yet to lose to a SCISA school and count public school victories over Northwestern, Stall, Academic Magnet and Hanahan among their early season wins.
Top returners to this year’s team include seniors Will Mooney, Coleman Smith, Michael Sagetelian and Derrick Main. Additional senior leadership comes from Sanders Hughes, Ansel Kay, David Grubbs and Ramin Amin-Javaheri.
The boys’ golf team expects to be a state tournament participant and will contend for the class AAA championship in late April. The team’s top golfer this spring has been junior Kent Lawrence, joined in the top five by sophomore Hale Kilborn, senior Jack Friedman, junior Charles Hartsock and senior Whipp Kilborn.
Rounding out this year’s roster are juniors Jack Nutley and Peter Zervos; sophomores Luc Handfield and Willis Rogers; and freshmen Ballard Morton and Beau Watts.
The boys’ tennis team also will be a state title contender. The Cyclones are off to a 5-0 start, which includes wins over Wando, Bishop England and Pinewood Prep.
Junior Brant Fenno leads the talented starting lineup as the number one singles player. Junior Manning Snyder plays number two and senior Malone Vingi plays number three. Eighth-grader Zach Blais plays four singles while Alex des Francs is at number five.
Other seniors on the team this spring include Luke Harvin, DJ Jimenez, Ben Joye and Jack Kammerer. Two other juniors are Andrew Harvin and Will Robertson. Rounding out the team are sophomores Max Abdo, Wit Abdo, Jack Brutzer, Thomas Finnegan, Teddy Keogh, Mason Pope and Andrew Robertson, along with sixth-grader Lucas Acevedo.
Kammerer, Acevedo, Luke Harvin and Andrew Harvin also have seen time in the singles’ ladder this spring.
The girls’ soccer team is off to a 7-1-1 start in the regular season and is sure to be a state title contender this spring. The Cyclones have two key regular season matchups with Pinewood Prep remaining on the schedule, as well as a second matchup with rival Ashley Hall.
The developing girls’ lacrosse team has won five of six matches to open the season and continues to evolve into a competitive program.
The team roster does not include a senior this spring and has only five juniors. Twelve of the team members are sophomores.
The boys’ lacrosse program has played in the SCISA state finals in each of the last two seasons, winning in 2015 and finishing second last spring.
The Cyclones head into April with a 5-4 record overall, which includes a one-point loss to Academic Magnet, a three-point loss to Bishop England, and a two-point loss to Holy Innocents of Atlanta, Georgia.
Senior leaders on this year’s team include Parker Blanchard, Oliver Michaud, Jack Schaible and Andrew Jones. Juniors Graham Kaplan, Stockton Fair, Peter Buyck and Reid Marion are a few of the key returning players from last year’s team.
The track and field teams make an annual habit of contending for AAA state championships. The Cyclones entered this spring with a relatively inexperienced team in several areas but continue to show solid improvement over the course of the regular season.
On the boys’ team, Ed Sessions is competing in the sprints while senior Judah Ellison will be a state title contender in the 800 and 1600-meter runs. David Butts is the team’s top performer in the 3200 and Legend Waring is improving in the 400-meter run.
Zai Waring and Michael Doyle are the top hurdlers this spring while senior Gray Eubanks is a state contender in the shot put and discus.
Alex Katzburg is working in the pole vault while Walker Carswell, Walker Coleman and George Easter are competing in the jumps.
Summer Boyd is one of the top athletes on the girls’ team. Boyd is competing in the sprints as well as the long jump, high jump and triple jump. Helen Berlin also works in the sprints and Riley Psenka is a state contender in the 400.
Taylor Cristo is solid in the distance events and Jasmine Smith is solid in the 800. Simone Handfield will be a state title contender in the hurdles and Anna Rhett Allen is improving in the pole vault.
Soccer goalkeeper Maggie Berlin is pulling double duty and competing in the shot put for the track team. Chole McAuley is throwing the discus.