The spring high school sports season saw several area boys teams bring home state titles.
Hilton Head High's boys track team won the Class 3-A crown despite not having a participant in the field events. And Hilton Head Prep's boys tennis team claimed its third SCISAA title in four years, knocking off nemesis Porter-Gaud to win the Class 3-A title.
A number of solid individual athletes made selecting MVPs for each sport a difficult process. Beaufort High School's boys soccer team enjoyed one of its best seasons with the help of a talented cast. And it was a toss-up as to which member of Hilton Head Prep's golf team finished as its medalist for a given match.
With so many successful teams and individuals, making the cut was as tough as ever. Please see page 6B to find out who The Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette sports staff deemed the top of a talented crop of athletes.
Andrew Settlemire, Beaufort High
Andrew Settlemire said before the season that he and his Beaufort High School teammates faced high expectations, that it was his job to help back up the team's lofty preseason ranking.
He did his part during Beaufort High's run to the Class 4-A Lower State final, earning All-State honors after leading the state with 29 assists and finishing third in Class 4-A in points.
Settlemire and fellow striker Christian Faale led the Eagles with 26 goals each. Settlemire's 29 assists placed him among the top 10 nationally, according to ESPN RISE high school rankings.
Settlemire helped lead the Eagles the farthest they had been in the Class 4-A playoffs since he was a freshman. He scored two goals in the Lower State final, but the Eagles fell to Wando by a goal.
The team finished ranked No. 3 in Class 4-A. And Settlemire heads to Erskine, where he signed before the season.
Settlemire has long been a scorer. He said he could shelve that role if it meant helping the Flying Fleet.
"I wanted to play more up top, because in high school, I like scoring," he said. "Now that I decided I'm going to college, I just want to do the best I can to help out the team."
Coach of the year: Gabriel Nieves, Beaufort High
Player of the year: Andrew Settlemire, Beaufort High
Best of the rest: Tyler Betts, Hilton Head High; Ben Carey, Beaufort High; Christian Faale, Beaufort High; Jake George, Bluffton; Ethan Konoza, Beaufort High; Chris MacMurray, Hilton Head High; Nick Manos, Beaufort High; Will McCarty, Hilton Head High; Carlos Morales, Hardeeville; Denis Nunez, Bluffton; Mike Ritterbeck, Hilton Head High
Nick Roberts, Hilton Head High
A late-season shoulder injury forced Nick Roberts to sit out two games. After he returned, the attackman spoke of how difficult it was to miss games during his senior season.
His teammates missed him even more. One of the best offenses in the state, Hilton Head High learned just how valuable Roberts was when it was held to 10 goals in his absence and lost both games.
When he was on the field, however, no offense was more dynamic. The Seahawks scored 205 goals on their way to an 11-4-1 season and a trip to the Lower State semifinals, where they lost by a goal to Wando.
Roberts was the power behind the offense. He led the Seahawks with 52 goals in 12 games, and he added 22 assists -- good for 6.2 points per game.
"He was very valuable to our offense, but he was also a good team leader," Seahawks coach Joe Monmonier said. "... Our team fed off his mood and his desire to win."
Roberts will attend Mars-Hill College (N.C.) on a lacrosse scholarship in the fall, where he will be joined by teammates Clayton Reed, Yannie Reynecke and Charlie Jackson -- three more key pieces to the Seahawks' season.
Coach of the year: Joe Monmonier, Hilton Head High
Player of the year: Nick Roberts, Hilton Head High
Best of the rest: B.J. Baker, Bluffton; Charlie Jackson, Hilton Head High; T.J. Ratzel, Bluffton; Clayton Reed, Hilton Head High; Yannie Reynecke, Hilton Head High
TRACK & FIELD
Michael Brewer, Hilton Head High
Michael Brewer has said he enjoys the dynamic of a team, and so he fittingly closed his final high school meet leaning on the relationship of teammates.
The senior ran the third leg of the 4x400-meter relay that edged South Pointe and gave the Hilton Head High boys the Class 3-A track and field title. Brewer also ran part of the 4x800 relay that swiped gold for a fifth consecutive time -- with Brewer participating for a second consecutive season.
Individually, Brewer broke free from a tight group to win the 800 meters. The top competitors in the race all qualified within half a second of each other. Brewer knew to expect a fight.
"It was going to come down to when we made our move," Brewer said. "So I guess, just tactically, I did well."
The team's state title was the third for Brewer at Hilton Head High. He and the Seahawks cross country team won the Class 3-A title his final two seasons.
Brewer has signed to run cross country and track at The Citadel, citing a desire to remain in the team atmosphere.
Coach of the year: Blake Bishop, Hilton Head High
Athlete of the year: Michael Brewer, Hilton Head High
Best of the rest: Devonta' Alston, Whale Branch; Alvin Brown, Ridgeland; Aubree Bruce, Hilton Head High; Jack Felix, Hilton Head High; Aaron Grant, Hardeeville; Desmond Jenkins, Bluffton; Mackenzie Johnston, Hilton Head High; Akeem Smalls, Beaufort High
Andrew Schafer, Hilton Head Prep
Even as the new kid, Andrew Schafer had no choice but to become a leader for Hilton Head Prep's boys tennis team.
He was, after all, at the top of the lineup.
Schafer had big shoes to fill in the No. 1 slot -- he bumped Jared Woodson out of that spot, even though Woodson went undefeated in singles play the past two seasons.
And Schafer did his part from his perch at No. 1, leading the Dolphins to the SCISAA Class 3-A state championship. He also won an individual title in the SCISAA Open singles tournament, capping an overwhelmingly successful season for Schafer, who moved from Frederick, Md., to train at Smith Stearns Tennis Academy.
The success hasn't stopped this summer -- Schafer won the singles title at the boys 16 USTA National Open in Marietta, Ga. -- and with only one starter, Aaron Cotton, graduating, Schafer and Prep should be poised for another big season in 2012.
Coach of the year: Bob Brown, Bluffton
Player of the year: Andrew Schafer, Hilton Head Prep
Best of the rest: Aaron Cotton, Hilton Head Prep; Malcolm Kates, Beaufort High; Jared Woodson, Hilton Head Prep
Tyler Williams, Hilton Head Prep
When his friend, Tim Godshalk, convinced him to transfer from Hilton Head High to Hilton Head Prep for his junior year, Tyler Williams made the move mostly because he thought it would be fun to play on the golf team with his buddies.
Fun quickly produced success, and Williams wound up earning all-state status after tying for fifth at the SCISAA Class 3-A tournament last month.
"I played good the whole season and played pretty good at state, so everything from this season gave me confidence," Williams said.
That confidence has carried over to the summer, as Williams tied for 16th at the Future Collegians World Tour's National Championship last month in Florida and tied for fifth at the AJGA Junior at Quad Cities last week.
He hopes to continue the summer success as he builds toward making a decision on where he'll play college golf -- the front-runners now are Indiana, Iowa State and Michigan State.
Coach of the year: Butch Hirsch, Hilton Head Prep
Player of the year: Tyler Williams, Hilton Head Prep
Best of the rest: Kyle Eichelsbacher, Hilton Head Prep; Josh Fickes, Beaufort High; Bennett Fultz, Beaufort Academy; Tate Hoisington, Hilton Head High; Wesley Long, Bluffton; Chandler Vilcheck, Hilton Head Christian