Bishops win girls' track and field state championship
The Bishop England High School girls’ track and field team won its 13th state championship Saturday, which ties Johnsonville for the most state titles in South Carolina High School League history. That’s a remarkable achievement.
But what makes the Bishops’ feat even more remarkable is the Bishops didn’t even really have a truly organized team until the late 1990s and didn’t win its first state title until 2001.
But the Bishops have more than made up for lost time. They claimed the Class AAA state championship Saturday at Spring Valley’s Harry Parone Stadium with a 73-58 victory over May River.
The girls’ program was in disarray until Philip Bottelier and Tony Colizzi became coaches at the school. Bottelier was the head coach in 2001 when the Bishops won their first title. Colizzi became head coach in 2002, and the rest is history including a remarkable run of nine straight state titles.
“I’ve been fortunate to have some hard working kids who were willing to put in the effort,” Colizzi said. “Back then, I had no idea we could be that successful.”
The Bishop boys finished in third place with 51 points, behind May River, which scored 70 points and Keenan, which tallied 59.
Also in Class AAA, the Hanahan girls finished in fifth place with 42 points, while the Hawk boys were 18th with 11 points.
In Class AA, the Philip Simmons boys’ and girls’ teams both had the best state finishes in the school’s brief history.
Woodland won the girls’ Class AA state crown with 113.5 points to top Philip Simmons, which finished second in the team standings with 68 points.
In the boys’ meet, St. Joseph won the state title with 70 points. Philip Simmons and Landrum both scored 57 points to finish in a tie for second place.
The Bishops’ Emma Albano and Grace Hotchkiss turned in national elite “silver” performances to lead the team to the title.
Albano’s effort came in the discus with a gold-medal effort of 129-feet, 6 inches. She finished second in the shot put. Hotchkiss cleared 12-8 in the pole vault, one of the better vaults in the country this year.
The Bishops’4x800-meter relay team also won a gold medal. The Bishops’4x400-meter relay team earned a silver medal while Katie Brooks claimed bronze in the high jump. Patricia George also won bronze in the 400-meter dash.
Logan Desciak led the Bishop boys with a first-place finish in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:58.53 to edge teammate Aidan Richter, who finished second.
The Bishops had three other silver medal efforts: Sam Boykin in the 3,200-meter run, Jack McAvoy in the pole vault and the 4x800 relay team, which turned in a national elite “silver” effort.
Aamari Smith led the Hanahan girls to their fifth place finish in the team standings by claiming a silver medal in the 100-meter hurdles.
Autum Bladen and Hanna Johnson claimed bronze medals in the 800 and 1,600 runs, respectively, while the Hawks’ 1,600 relay team also claimed a bronze medal.
Aidan Hatton led the Hawk boys with a third-place finish in the 800 run.
Seventh-grader Haley Meyers and freshman Najhyrai Watson led the Iron Horse girls to their second-place finish.
Meyers scored gold in the 800 run (2:19.57), 1,600-meter run (5:16.76) and the 3,200-meter run (11:59.30).
Watson turned in a national elite “gold” time of 24.49 to win the 200-meter dash. The 4x400 relay team also picked up a silver medal.
Iron Horse sophomore Noah Ward swept the distance events to account for 30 of the Iron Horses boys’ 57 points. Ward won the 800 run with a national elite “silver” time of 1:56.59. He also won the 1,600 in 4:33.91, and the 3,200 with a clocking of 10:03.08.
Kiamani Denmark captured the bronze medal in the 200.