BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
Coach of the year: Bill Wrightson, Hilton Head High
All-area team: Harris Reeves, Bluffton; Joshua Tierney, Bluffton; Alex Couch, Hilton Head High; Sean McMahon, Hilton Head High; Colton Hennessey, Hilton Head High; Sam Beattie, Hilton Head High; Noa Pagatpatan, Hilton Head High
Athlete of the year: Jack Manesiotis, Hilton Head High
What will Jack Manesiotis do for an encore?
The Hilton Head High runner capped off his junior cross country season with a Class 3-A individual championship while leading a reloaded squad of Seahawks to the team title for the third consecutive season. His winning time of 15 minutes, 36 seconds was a whopping 43 seconds faster than his nearest challenger, as he led from start to finish.
"From about 800 meters on, I never looked back," Manesiotis said.
At the rate he's going, he won't be doing very much of that for the rest of his high school career.
He very nearly got the chance to test his skills against the best runners in the country, finishing 12th at the Foot Locker South Regional meet with a time of 15:13. Eleven seconds faster and he would have been in the field for the Foot Locker Nationals.
Put that on the list for next year. In the meantime, Manesiotis can focus on track season in the spring, where he will be trying to help the Seahawks defend their state championship.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
Coach of the year: Bill Wrightson, Hilton Head High
All-area team: Scottie House, Bluffton; Madison Putich, Bluffton; Faith Lifer, Hilton Head High; Carley McGlinn, Hilton Head High; Savannah Schepp, Hilton Head High; Ciara McMahon, Hilton Head High; Esther Anderson, Hilton Head High
Athlete of the year: Sarah Garratt, Hilton Head Prep
After earning all-state honors the past two seasons -- she placed second in the SCISAA state meet last year and fourth this year -- along with two region titles and a win in the Beaufort County Championship this fall, the mark Sarah Garratt leaves on the Hilton Head Prep cross country program won't soon fade.
"Her contribution to the team starts with her performance, but it certainly doesn't end there," coach Liz Nash said. "Sarah is one of those special few who has had such a positive impact on her teammates and anybody whose path she crosses."
And that's why Nash is hopeful Garratt will continue to have a positive effect on the Dolphins even after she graduates in May.
"As a coach, I can only hope the younger ones have paid enough attention to her that they can somewhat imitate her diligence, tenacity and kindness," Nash said. "She is a gifted runner and an extraordinary young lady."
Coach of the year: David Crosby, Bluffton
All-area team: Anna Lesemann Eddy, HHCA; Jackie Budidharma, Hilton Head High; Lily Bartell, Hilton Head High; Nathalie Lezcano, Hilton Head High; Kylie Nizolek, Bluffton; Brandi Hammonds, Bluffton
Athlete of the year: Sammie Buchanan, Bluffton
Four times, Sammie Buchanan has been the Bluffton girls golf team's MVP. Four times, she earned all-state honors. And now, for the third time, Buchanan is the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette's player of the year.
The Bluffton senior wrapped up her illustrious career -- which included six seasons of varsity golf -- in fine fashion, tying for eighth at the Class 3-A state championships to help the Bobcats claim the state title for the second time in three seasons.
"At the course, right when we found out we won, I just started crying, realizing what I have and appreciating what I have," Buchanan said. "I love this golf team. It was a good accomplishment and a good way to go out."
Buchanan, who had a scoring average of 37.1 this season, will add a new stop on her resume next season, joining the UNC Greensboro golf team.
Coach of the year: Eric Kemeny, Bluffton
All-area team: Preston Suber, BA; Billy Dailey, BA; Finn Koppernaes, BA; Charlie Guenther, HHCA; Sebastian Bedon, Bluffton; Jake Minasi, Bluffton; Drew O'Brien, Bluffton; Tristan Cummings, HHH; Ryan Nady, HHH; James Hammond, HHH
Athlete of the year: Andrew Faciszewski, Bluffton
With the loss of its top swimmer from a season ago, Bluffton's boys needed a boost.
The Bobcats had better depth than they did the previous season, when they had two-time state champion Robbie Skinner. And Andrew Faciszewski took on the job of stepping in as leader.
Faciszewski aimed high entering the S.C. High School League meet.
"I'm especially concentrating on the 500 because I think I have a chance to win it," said Faciszewski, who was seeded third in the 500. "I think I have a chance to win it. I'm looking forward to it."
He fell just shy of his goal, but turned in a a solid all-around performance that helped Bluffton to a fifth-place finish as a team.
Faciszewski led the Bobcats on the boys side, taking second in the 200 free and 500 free. Faciszewski also teamed with Sebastian Bedon, Jake Minasi and Drew O'Brien to finish third in the 200 free relay.
Coach of the year: Mike Lane, Hilton Head High
All-area team: Madeleine Gray, BA; Katherine Neal, BA; Ashley Weaver, HHCA; Camille Felix, HHH; Mary Bolgan, HHH; Cassie Ley, HHH; Amelia Rzeczycki, HHH; Elizabeth Felix, HHH; Madison Wall, Bluffton; Jessica Barras, Beaufort High; Laura Barras, Beaufort High
Athlete of the year: Josie Cuda, Hilton Head High
Cuda concluded a long and award-filled career with the Hilton Head High swim team in October by capturing the 200-yard freestyle state championship for the second straight year and helping a powerful Seahawks squad repeat as Class 3-A girls team champions. For her efforts, she was selected as the Class 3-A swimmer of the year by the S.C. Coaches Association for Women's Sports.
The Florida State signee, who has stayed busy year-round by competing for Hilton Head Aquatics, also claimed second place in the 100 butterfly this season -- one spot better than in 2010 -- and helped the Seahawks take second in a pair of relay events as they rolled to the state title.
Although the Seahawks will have plenty of talent back for next season for another title run, losing Cuda will be felt. She has been a part of the Hilton Head High swimming program since the seventh grade, when she was on a winning relay team.
Coach of the year: Jennifer Weitekamper, Hilton Head High
All-area team: Allie Burak, Hilton Head Prep; Cameron Kriscunas, Hilton Head Prep; Brooke Busby, Hilton Head High; Logan Danzell, Hilton Head High; Chelsea Bellomy, Beaufort High; Charlotte Bellomy, Beaufort High; Charlotte Loper, Bluffton
Athlete of the year: Sabrina Drammis, Hilton Head High
Sabrina Drammis didn't thnk much of her opening draw in the Class 3-A/4-A state singles tournament. She drew the tournament's top seed and eventual state champion and lost to tumble into the backdraw.
But she didn't give up. The senior had already responded to those who said Hilton Head High wouldn't be the same this season, that it lost too much to continue its run of team championships. But with Drammis playing No. 1 singles, the Seahawks soared to a fifth-consecutve state championship.
And so in the singles, faced with the prospect of going home, Drammis battled back to finish sixth. She and teammate Brooke Busby were the only Class 3-A players to reach the individual finals.
"I just fought for it and tried my best to run down every ball," Drammis said. "I beat people I would say are a lot better than me. I don't know how I got to the finals, but it happened."
The strong finish was the icing after the team title. Drammis said the Seahawks had lost much of their depth, that doubles was a weak spot until coming on strong late in the season.
"It was just cool to show peope that although we didn't have the strength we had in previous years, we can still come up on top," she said. "We just pulled together as a team and fought hard."
Coach of the year: Reed Goldsmith, Hilton Head Prep
All-area team: Ashlie Layman, Thomas Heyward; Brooke Churchich, Hilton Head Prep; Jamie Whalen, Whale Branch; Deborah Fields, Whale Branch; Mackenzie Cooler, Bluffton; Abby Roulston, Bluffton; Morgan Delaplane, Bluffton; Sharea Walls, Battery Creek; Alexia Neal, Beaufort High; Mykalah Smalls, Beaufort High; Elaine Natoli, Hilton Head High; Carter Julseth, Hilton Head High; Sierra Davis, Hilton Head High
Athlete of the year: Liz Buterbaugh, Hilton Head Prep
The stats speak for themselves -- 450 kills and 82 solo blocks, both school records, as well as 66 aces and a sizzling 89.5 percent receiving.
But the stats only tell part of the story when it comes to measuring senior Liz Buterbaugh's impact for the Hilton Head Prep volleyball team.
"That was not her greatest value to the team, because you can't win with one player," coach Reed Goldsmith said. "She grew in her leadership role throughout the season. We had a fairly inexperienced team, and she was able to keep everybody focused and on track."
That's not meant to diminish the caliber of play Buterbaugh delivered wherever she was on the floor, Goldsmith is careful to point out. It simply speaks to the intangible impact of leading by example, always working harder in practice than anyone else and always helping her younger, less experienced teammates improve.
"We had a great season -- we finished third in the state and set a school record for victories," Goldsmith said. "And that certainly wouldn't have been possible without her."