HHCA spring athletes earn all-state honors; two coaches leave
By David Shelton
Hilton Head – Two varsity head coaches at Hilton Head Christian Academy have left to take new jobs it was learned earlier this spring.
Football coach Ryan Mitch, the head coach for two seasons, left to pursue business opportunities in Charleston. Girls’ soccer coach Ben Gerdts, who just led his program to the AA state championship, has taken a new job at a school in Texas.
Gerdts and his soccer team capped off their great season with a win over Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach in the SCISA AA state finals in May. The Eagles got two goals from Abigail Bensch to spark the run to the title. Hilton Head Christian finished second in last year’s AAA finals to Pinewood Prep.
“This feels so much better than what we were feeling last year,” said Gerdts. “This is a great group of girls. We had great senior leadership and the difference between this team and last year is this team handled adversity so well. They just wanted to win and they were very unselfish.”
Bensch was recently named the SCISA AA Player of the Year by the High School Sports Report while Gerdts was named the SCISA AA Coach of the Year.
With many of last year’s players returning this season, Gerdts felt he had a team capable of winning a title.
“Sure, we knew we had a great chance but a lot of things had to fall into place for us,” said the coach. “We practiced and trained hard. We prepared for this moment all year. I’m thankful and I’m proud that we were able to finish it today.”
The soccer title was one of two won by Hilton Head Christian this spring. The boys’ golf team dominated the Class AA state tournament in late April, setting a state record by completing the 36-hole event in 568 strokes. It was the third consecutive title for the program.
Auburn bound Trace Crowe was the event’s medalist, posting a two-round total 135, including a 66 on the second day. All five of Hilton Head Christian’s golfers earned all-state honors, including Crowe. Bryson Nimmer and Jonathan Phillips each carded two-round totals of 142 while Matt Leaman shot 149. R.J. Bartolomucci shot 150 at the state tournament.
The track program produced a state champion this spring as Sam Gilman captured gold in both the 1600 and 800 meter races at the 2015 SCISA state track and field championships on May 2nd. Gilman was the lone representative of the program.
Hilton Head Christian’s baseball program also had an outstanding season, posting a final record of 17-6. Luke Higgs earned all-state honors by SCISA.