Andy Hallett called May 16 a landmark day for A.C. Flora athletics department.
Hours after the Falcons won their eighth consecutive boys state golf championship, Hallet’s baseball team finished an unbeaten postseason with an 8-1 win against South Pointe to claim their sixth state title.
“It is a crowning moment for the A.C. Flora athletics department. It was a very special Tuesday,” Hallett said.
Hallett capped off the championship with his team’s trip to the State House on Thursday, a familiar ending for his squad in the past decade.
Hallett had his doubts about his team early in the season. He knew he had a strong senior class returning after the Falcons failed to make it out of the district round. But he was unsure how the team’s four freshman and sophomore starters would perform.
A.C. Flora started out by winning the NaturChem Invitational and took off. The Falcons’ chemistry grew, evident when the team got Mohawks before the start of the playoffs.
“I’m a big believer in team chemistry,” Hallett said. “If you feel like you are family, then you are going to perform for each other. It’s hard socially for freshman and seniors to interact together, but this group was really tight-knit.”
A.C. Flora was one of several Midlands teams to win state titles in the past school year. The Falcons weren’t the only ones to win multiple state titles on the same day. Cardinal Newman’s boys and girls soccer teams won SCISA 3A titles on the same field in Charleston. The boys defeated Hammond, 4-1, while the girls won their third consecutive title with a 2-1 victory over Porter Gaud.
“We are a close staff and both teams intertwine with each other. The players and families are real close, too,” Cardinal Newman boys soccer coach and athletics director Will Eudy said. “We both won in 2011, and it was really cool to win on the same day. It just reinforces and validates all the hard work that everyone puts in to it.”
The Cardinals also won state titles in wrestling and girls bowling to tie them with Hammond for most state titles by a Midlands school this year.
Other Midlands schools who won multiple titles this past year were Dutch Fork, Chapin and Heathwood Hall.
Ben Lippen football and River Bluff wrestling each won their first state titles, while Lower Richland boys basketball got its first title since 1999. Lexington added to its domination in girls golf.
Dutch Fork football went 15-0 on its way to the Class 5A title. The Silver Foxes finished the year nationally ranked.
“Had a lot (of years) where I not only expected it but demanded it. But this was kind of unexpected and ranks up there with the first one in the 1990s and the first one at Dutch Fork,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said in December. “This season there were so many questions, but our due diligence seemed to work out. So, this was a special one because it was so unexpected.”
Caleb Gaither led Lower Richland boys’ basketball to a title in his first season, while Chapin’s Ben Bosco won a title in his final year with the Eagles boys soccer program. Bosco announced in the middle of the season he would be leaving to take a job outside of coaching in Tennessee.
“You couldn’t go out any better,” Bosco said. “Not too many people get to win their last game as a coach.”
Silver Foxes recorded first unbeaten season in school history and defeated Boiling Springs to win Class 5A championship. Dutch Fork finished season ranked No. 21 in USA Today Super 25 poll. The Silver Foxes had four players picked for Shrine Bowl and North-South All-Star games.
The Falcons won school’s first state title with a 27-21 overtime victory against over Porter-Gaud. Bryce Thompson scored three second-half touchdowns in the victory.
After coming in second in 2015, the Wildcats were back in familiar territory with another state title. It was Lexington’s 11th state title in the past 13 seasons. Gracyn Burgess, Isabella Rawl and Karlee Vardas were named to the all-state team.
The Silver Foxes won their sixth state title and first since 2014, when they finished three points better than Lexington.
Chapin won its 12th state championship and became the first school to win titles in Classes 2A, 3A and 4A. The Eagles finished 20 points better than St. James.
The Skyhawks claimed their third state title in four years and fourth overall.
Heathwood Hall won its first state title since 1993, edging Cardinal Newman by two points. Hugh Wilcox (7th) and Justin French (9th) led the Highlanders with top-10 finishes.
The Diamond Hornets won their first title since 1999, beating Wren 51-42, and were the only Midlands team to win a basketball championship. Lower Richland trailed by 18 points but outscored the Hurricane 45-18 after the first quarter. Clemson signee Clyde Trapp scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter.
The Gators won their first state title in the fourth year of the program and denied Rock Hill its 19th championship, prevailing 31-30. It was River Bluff coach Evan Moxie’s fourth state title overall and his third with a different school. River Bluff’s Ben Emery also won an individual state title the following week.
The Cardinals continued their dominance by winning their fourth consecutive SCISA 3A title with a win against Hammond.
Cardinal Newman won its third consecutive title by 63 pins over second-place Thomas Sumter.
The Falcons won their sixth state title since 2001 with a sweep of South Pointe in the Class 4A championship series. A.C. Flora went 8-0 in the playoffs and outscored its opponents, 73-18.
The Eagles won their second consecutive state title with a 2-0 victory. Chapin outscored its opponents, 23-1, in the postseason.
Cardinal Newman won its fifth SCISA 3A title with a 4-1 win against Hammond. The Cardinals went 18-1-1 on the season with their lone loss to Wando, ranked No. 1 in USA Today Super 25 poll. Cardinal Newman was ranked 12th in the national poll.
The Cardinals won their second consecutive title with a 2-1 overtime win over Porter-Gaud. Eighth-grader Hannah Hartel had the game-winning goal.
The Falcons continued one of the longest championship streaks in the state by winning their eighth consecutive championship. A.C. Flora, which trailed going into final round, defeated Myrtle Beach by 10 strokes. Division I signees Jack Parrott and Ryan Marter earned all-state honors.
The Skyhawks won their first title since 1994 with a 10-shot win over Porter-Gaud. Henry Augenstein and Bronson Myers earned all-state honors.
The Skyhawks won their fourth state title and second in a row with a 10-6 win over Porter-Gaud. Hammond lost to P-G twice during the season before winning the title game.
The Highlanders won their first title since 2009 by defeating Ashley Hall by eight points. Rachael Whittaker and Maryah Nasir won a combined seven events for Heathwood, which finished runner-up the past four years.
Skyhawks won the Hunt Seat and Western titles and have won a championship in the sport the past seven years.