We’re nearing the end of 2021, a year that was again marked by the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. But we found a way to push through and witnessed another unforgettable year of local sports action. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite memories and moments of the action I covered this year across the Lowco.
The return of spring sports.
It was the most anticipated year we’ve ever seen for our spring athletes itching to get back out on the field, and they all put on a heck of a show in their return. With motivation in hand to take advantage of their first full season since 2019, our spring sports standouts raised their game to another level. The state titles our teams won meant more than ever, led by a boys and girls soccer sweep from Holy Trinity. Hilton Head Christian Academy’s girls captured the SCISA 2A crown under first-year head coach Rosa Smith, and the Beaufort High Eagles baseball and boys tennis teams captivated us all with a pair of magical playoff runs. It was disappointing to see the spring season called off in my first year at LowcoSports, but I was thrilled to see it all return in a memorable start to 2021.
Hilton Head High’s remarkable basketball state championship run.
As a Hilton Head High alum and fan for decades, I never thought I’d see a team as special as the one Chane Brown produced this past winter. After starring for his Seahawks back in 2001, Brown returned to his alma mater and instilled a new brand of basketball on the island, emphasizing a defense-first mentality that fostered strong commitment and teamwork among his players. We saw glimpses of what this system could produce in a 2019-20 season that went well above my expectations, but the season that followed was nothing short of magical. Led by a generational talent in Will McCracken and unstoppable forward Sam Summa, the Seahawks soared past their region foes with high-flying dunks and dazzling team basketball. The community quickly got behind this exciting group, and #DunkIsland delivered a magical run all the way to the state finals. It wasn’t the finish we were hoping for as Lowco nemesis Quan Peterson rallied his South Pointe Stallions back in the finale, but we’ll always remember this team that believed and gave that extra effort every night to cement its status in Seahawk lore.
TWO PGA Tour events taking place in the Lowcountry.
The pandemic took away many exciting events for us in 2020, including our first-ever Lowco Basketball Showcase (which we still have the jerseys ready and waiting for when the time comes). It was also a disappointment to have to cover the RBC Heritage from afar with no spectators out on the course. But 2021 was different. Not only did Lowco golf fans return to Harbour Town this spring, but they got the treat of a second PGA Tour event just two months later. With the RBC Canadian Open canceled for one year, the Tour needed a replacement event, and the Palmetto Championship was born. Congaree Golf Club in Ridgeland stepped up to the plate and delivered a memorable event in June that we’ll remember for years and decades to come. After losing our opportunity to see Harbour Town in 2020, covering two Tour events in a span of just three months more than made up for it. And we saw our very own Bryson Nimmer in both, as the Lowco’s own tour local notched a terrific top-40 finish at Congaree to lay the foundation for what should be a big career ahead.
Reaching new heights with our podcasts.
A few months ago, I listened to the first podcast we put together just to see how far the quality has come. The product continues to get better each and every week, and I can’t be more excited for what’s to come in 2022. It was a terrific fall for the Lowco Pigskin Podcast previewing and recapping each week of a historic football season, and it led right into a new-and-improved season of the Lowco Hoops Report. We’ve now transitioned our podcast to both an audio and video format and have lots of exciting plans in store for what we can produce in the coming year. Our USCB intern Trey Ramsey has been an awesome addition to our team in producing the podcast each week, and we’re so excited for him to help us elevate our new video platform to another level. After basketball season ends, we’ll be debuting another new podcast: Lowco FC, which will give you the best local soccer coverage complete with interviews and features from names across the local scene and beyond. The possibilities are limitless for the future of our podcasts, and we can’t wait to see it continue to unfold in 2022.
Writing a weekly column to shine a light on our amazing student-athletes and community.
One of the joys of this job has been the chance to document the many amazing stories made possible by our incredible student-athletes, coaches, and community members. This column has given me the chance to explore and cover countless in-depth stories, features, and highlights from an incredible year of sports here in the Lowco. It’s been a treat to honor our kids’ successes and showcase the amazing work they put in each hour of each day. It takes the highest level of dedication to be a winning student-athlete, and I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing some of the best embark on their journeys and head out ready to take the world by storm. This column has given me the chance to tell these stories and shine a light on these incredible young men and women as they continue to make us proud in all that they do.
It’s been another phenomenal year of sports in the Lowco, and this year, more than any other previous year, I’m incredibly thankful to have the opportunity over these last 12 months to cover them. And, I’m sure our student-athletes and coaches would say the same thing. We’re certainly not out of the woods with the Omicron variant in full force, but I hope that we all do our part by getting vaccinated and boosted to give us the best chance at a memorable 2022. We thank you for reading over this past year, and I can’t be more pumped for what we have in store in the next one.
By Wes Kerr