Throughout its storied Lowco history, Hilton Head Christian Academy has produced more than its fair share of memorable athletes. But few have meant more to the Eagles than five-time state champion Abby Peduzzi.
It’s a last name that has been synonymous with the Eagles and the island’s sports as a whole for decades. Ron Peduzzi took Hilton Head Prep’s football program to unprecedented heights in his 11 years in Sea Pines with a pair of state titles before heading across the island to win two more for Hilton Head Christian.
Neither of the latter two may have been possible without the efforts of son JP Peduzzi, who shattered the school records for total touchdowns and points scored while leading his Eagles to the SCISA 2A crown in 2020. The younger Peduzzi man was a warrior who did it all on the field, dominating at wide receiver, quarterback, safety, and even kicker to will his team to glory.
She may have been the little sister, but Abby Peduzzi had the opportunity to learn from JP’s early success on the field and the court. Whether it was travel soccer tournaments or just a game of pickup basketball, Abby picked up on the skills and intangibles that she needed to thrive against her peers. Her competitive nature and will to win were built through constant friendly battles with her brother. But it was JP’s work ethic and leadership traits that really struck a chord with her as she grew older.
She joined Kenny Conroy’s basketball team as a young but determined eighth-grader who worked hard when she got her chances on the court. Her efforts throughout practices were noticeable from her head coach, who continued to rely more and more on her winning hustle. Abby became a reliable scorer in her freshman season while learning under HHCA greats Brielle McCarthy, Jasmine Campbell, and Dior Shelton. Then, she put it all together in her sophomore campaign to become one of the most dynamic and effective post players in the Lowco.
When Dior Shelton was marked closely in the 2021 state championship game, the Eagles turned to Peduzzi down low for some enormous buckets to seal the game – and a third straight state title. It was the end of her sophomore year when she began to show her leadership qualities in full display.
Communication has always been key for Peduzzi, who leads by example in practice and pushes everyone around her to hit that next gear. She showed bits of it ever since she first arrived on the scene in the spring of 2019, and has instilled that hard-working mentality throughout the roster of every team she has been a part of.
Winning is contagious in high school sports, and one successful program can spread that championship culture across the school. We’ve seen the football program do it at Whale Branch and Beaufort High, but no one has done it better than Hilton Head Christian Academy.
And it would not have been possible without the drive of Abby Peduzzi.
After helping her basketball team earn its third consecutive title, Abby laid the same foundations of hard work and leadership within her soccer squad. The Eagles had a new head coach in Rosa Smith in 2021, but Peduzzi was more than ready to take the reins and help bring the winning culture on the basketball court over to the soccer pitch.
In the first few days of the season, Abby made sure to relate teachings and concepts to basketball to maintain the mentality and work ethic that her teammates showed during the winter. For the rest of the team who wasn’t on the court, it was an opportunity to join that culture and become empowered to raise their game to meet that standard.
After the soccer squad lost its first game of the season 10-0, Smith told her players to keep their heads up and keep working on their skills. Peduzzi listened, and led her team all the way to a state title, her second in just a matter of months. She was unstoppable in the semifinals against Spartanburg Day, pulling off a hat-trick to will her team to victory.
But it was her performance in the final that may have been the most rewarding. Abby knew that she would be the focus of the defense and relayed that message to her teammates to challenge them to step up when the moment was the biggest.
Abby Peduzzi was held off the scoreboard, but Bless Hurtado, Addy Lentz, and basketball teammate Devon Yarde pulled through to cap off an inspirational spring. It was just another example of Peduzzi’s amazing leadership and team-first mentality that has kept her racking up the hardware.
Without her efforts over the last four years at Hilton Head Christian Academy, the Eagles certainly wouldn’t be the dynasty they are now. She’s responsible for so much of the winning culture on the basketball court and the soccer field. She rarely passes up an opportunity to improve her skills and dedicates herself to the success of every team she joins.
After playing a basketball game on a Friday night in January, she quickly traveled to Charleston the next day to help her club volleyball team capture a tournament title. The grind never stops for Peduzzi, and she keeps finding a way to raise her game even higher. Whichever school finds a way to land Peduzzi at the next level will be getting a gem: a grinder and a winner who will find a way to produce in whatever role she is handed.
Ron Peduzzi relays the same message to his football team each year: “Play like a bunch of junkyard dogs.” In many ways, you could say the same thing about the play of his daughter. Abby has become a ferocious rebounder on the basketball court who will stop at nothing to win the ball back on the defensive end of the floor. Her work ethic is truly unmatched, and she has done more than any player in her school to raise Hilton Hilton Head Christian Academy athletics to the gold standard of a SCISA program.
With five rings already on her fingers heading into the spring of her junior year, the quest is on to defend her soccer title, go five-for-five in basketball, and maybe even win her first-ever volleyball crown.
The challenge may be mighty, but one thing’s for sure: we won’t be betting against her.