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Williamsburg Academy High School
Kingstree

Stallions set to begin bid for three-peat

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Kingstree – Having won the last two SCISA AA state championships, the Williamsburg Academy softball team heads into the 2017 state tournament with the target squarely on their backs.

First-year head coach Walt Fulton knows that every other AA team will be gunning for his squad but the experience of having played in tough state tournaments the last two years, and having come out on top, will certainly be an advantage for the Stallions.

“We do have a lot of girls on this team that have played on the last two teams that won state championships,” Fulton said. “I think the experience is a big advantage. These girls know what it takes to win it all. They should be excited about the opportunity.

“We know people are coming for us. The key for us is to play our game. We have to focus one game at a time and play the way we are capable.”

Williamsburg went undefeated through conference play, 8-0, beating Carolina Academy, Calhoun Academy, Robert E. Lee Academy and Thomas Sumter twice. Carolina, Robert E. Lee and Thomas Sumter also made the AA playoff field, a testament to the overall strength of the region.

The Stallions are 17-1 overall on the season and open defense of their title on Friday (May 12th) against Robert E. Lee. Fulton says the AA playoff field is the best it has been in his four years at Williamsburg.

“Top to bottom, its easily the deepest field with some talented teams,” Fulton said. “Pee Dee Academy is the only team to beat us and we know how capable they are. Carolina Academy is in our region and so is Thomas Sumter and they are both quality teams. Marlboro Academy is very good and Thomas Heyward is a perennial powerhouse in AA. Colleton Prep won Class A last year and they are as good as they’ve ever been. It will be a great tournament. Any team can get hot and win this thing.”

Williamsburg is equally adept offensively as they are defensively. The defense starts in the circle where Fulton uses three pitchers – senior Reagan McKenzie and underclassmen Kinslee Wilson and Madison Lamb.

“I feel confident with any of the three out there because they compete,” Fulton said.

Junior Marti Easler is a fourth-year starter and handles the catching duties. Freshman Kendall McKenzie plays first base while junior Brandi Gause plays second or third, depending on the pitcher.

Madi Watford plays shortstop with Gause also seeing time.

Junior Jena Faye Reynolds is a returning starter in left field. With Lamb in center, right field is shared equally by seniors Brooke Locklair and Anne Louise Williamson.

“One of our strengths is that we have versatile girls who can move around and play different positions without hurting us defensively,” Fulton said. “We have very good depth.”

Mixon wins gold at state meet

Senior Gage Mixon became the first-ever state track and field champion from Williamsburg Academy on May 6th as the SCISA Class AA state track and field meet at Porter-Gaud.

Mixon won the gold medal in the shot put with a winning throw of 42 feet, eight inches. His winning throw was more than a foot longer than his nearest competitor and a foot longer than his qualifying throw.

The girls’ team had two athletes qualify for the state finals. Skyler Graham finished seventh in the 200-meter dash and eighth in the 100-meter dash. Blakely Owens finished fifth in the 800-meter run.

Graham competes in state golf tournament

Josh Graham represented Williamsburg Academy’s boys’ golf team in the Class AA state tournament in late April. Graham qualified as an individual player and competed with more than 80 golfers at the Hackler Course in Conway.

The tournament, originally scheduled for 36-holes, was cut back to 18 due to weather. Graham completed his round with an 87, which placed him inside the top 50 for all players in the field.

 

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