Wando brings home state titles in tennis, cross country and volleyball
By David Shelton
Mt. Pleasant – Just call Wando High “title-town.”
The Wando athletic program completed the fall sports campaign by winning three AAAA state championships in a seven-day span.
Wando won AAAA championships in cross country, volleyball and girls’ tennis to close out the fall sports campaign in impressive fashion.
The volleyball team, coached by Alexis Glover, won a second consecutive AAAA state title with a 3-0 win over Dorman in the finals played on November 14th at White Knoll High School.
Wando finished the season with a 46-5-2 record and did not lose over the final six weeks of the season.
Most of the key contributors this season were underclassmen so expect Wando to contend for a third straight title in 2016.
Junior Sydney DeJong, an all-state selection, finished this season with 280 kills and 166 blocks. Sophomore Keeghan Andrews added 265 kills and 50 blocks while sophomore Lexi Hellberg tallied 225 kills.
Senior Meagan Kimbrell had 192 kills and 367 defensive digs while junior Katie Jacques had 200 kills and 108 blocks.
Sophomore setter Karen Majewski had 1,074 assists and 329 digs while sophomore libero Brooke Medders led the team with 553 digs.
The Wando boys’ cross country team got over the hump in 2015, capturing the AAAA state title at the AAAA state cross country meet on November 6th.
Wando scored 71 points to win the meet, led by sophomore Patrick Spychalski’s fourth-place finish. He earned all-state honors, along with Bradley Sanders, who scored seventh overall.
“We knew about Wade Hampton, we knew about Riverside and some of those teams that were up there with us last year,” Wando coach Bret Davis said. “We’ve been second the last two years so it’s all about the preparation these kids put in. We had a good idea and a good strategy coming in. But it’s all about the kids. They put in the work from last May until today.”
Wando’s third finisher in the state meet was Tedros Eckstein, who scored 13th overall in the meet. Palmer Haigler scored 22nd and Noah Spencer scored 25th. Jarrod Bohr and Zach Davis also ran in the meet but did not figure into the team scoring. Bohr was 31st overall while Davis crossed the line in 47th.
With the top five placers at the state meet returning next fall, Wando will likely enter the 2016 season as the favorite in class AAAA.
“In the last four years, we’ve progressed every year - we’ve gotten better and better and better,” Davis said. “You want to see that growth. My second year here (2013) was the best team Wando’s ever had. Then we came back last year and had an even better team. Then this year we have an even better team. Next year, with as much youth coming back, I hope we can say it’s an even better team.”
The girls’ cross country team finished ninth overall in the AAAA team standings. Freshman Lily Heinold was the team’s top placer, finishing 24th overall. Anna Caroli Higgins was 46th, followed by Madison Paraskeva in 55th.
Rounding out the Wando contingent were Chloe Santor (66th), Katherine Lewis (68th), Jamie Kase (83rd) and Megan Carraway (112th).
Wando’s girls’ tennis team defeated Boiling Springs in the AAAA state finals, winning 5-1. First-year coach Eric Praedel guided the Warriors to their first state title since 2009. Wando lost in the finals, 4-3, to Dutch Fork in last year’s finals and that loss was the motivation throughout the offseason.
“After losing last year, this has been on their calendar since,” Praedel said. “It’s an experienced team and they’ve been very focused all season. They have talked about getting this chance all season.”
Sophomore Lauren Quinn played number one singles this fall while sophomore Lily Conant played number two singles. Freshman Kat Lyman played three singles and junior Tyler Kirk was the number four player.
The lone senior in the singles ladder was number five Brittany Hellberg.