Philip Simmons athletic program’s success skyrockets as area continues to grow
You might see Dan Minkin stuck in traffic on the heavily traveled Clements Ferry Road near Philip Simmons High School. But you won’t hear him honk his horn or complain about the long ribbon of cars. While some people seethe at the bumper-to-bumper backup, orange traffic cones and roadside construction, Minkin sees it another way.
It means more growth, more people and more student athletes for the Philip Simmons athletic department. Minkin, you see, heads up the Iron Horses’ athletics program. He’s in his first year as athletic director, and sees a link between the growth in the area and the school’s success in the athletic arenas.
“It’s really growing,” Minkin says of the Clements Ferry corridor. “They have a Publix, a Jersey Mike’s and a bunch of other things springing up. That growth, that building, attracts people to this great area.”
It’s been a year of athletic firsts as the Iron Horses continue to show improvement in all avenues of endeavors. Fall was off the charts with success on the fields and the first athletic scholarships: Mickey Walker in football (signing with Presbyterian College) and Coy Simon in tennis (University of Tennessee). There have been state champions and All-Americans. The sky is the limit for the school, which competes at the Class AA level.
“The athletes and coaches go above and beyond,” Minkin said. “And its starts with the parents and coaches. We have great parental involvement and great coaches. When I go to hire a new coach, I ask myself if I want my 3-year-old and my 6-year-old to play for this coach.”
If Minkin graded the effort of the fall sports teams, he would give them an exclamation point. The volleyball team made the playoffs as did the football team. The girls’ tennis team reached the Lower State final while both cross country teams excelled with great runners, including Noah Ward, who has numerous gold medals in cross country and track and field, and was named first team to the SC Runners All-Decade team
“We had an unbelievable fall,” Minkin said.
The winter season was a time for athletes to shine, as well. The boys’ basketball team reached the playoffs while the girls’ team threatened for the Region 6-AA title before coming up short against North Charleston. The biggest news just might be the emergence of the wrestling team under the guidance of coach Anthony Sardelli — seven wrestlers qualified for the state meet.
Spring also holds great promise. The boys’ tennis team is set to defend their state title and throw their collective hat in the ring as the best team in the Southeast.
The track and field teams should contend for state titles, with Ward leading the pack for the boys’ team. The Lady Iron Horses are set to take off as well with seventh-grader Haley Meyers and freshman Najhyrai Watson, who led the girls to a second-place finish at the state meet last year.
Many people expected PSHS to compete at the Class AAA level the next time the High School League issues its biannual alignment. But the Iron Horses will remain a Class AA program. Minkin said the school will consider a boys’ volleyball team when the High School League sanctions the sport. The school has added a girls’ junior varsity lacrosse team and will bring back swimming after a two-year hiatus.