Joe Monmonier racked up quite a few miles in his first year as Hilton Head Island High School's athletics director, driving across the state in parts unknown to him as his Seahawks' sports teams trekked through the playoffs.
"It was a lot of travel on my part, but it was enjoyable," he said. "I got to really see the state. I enjoyed every minute of it."
Monmonier knew all that traveling would eventually pay off at the conclusion of the 2012-13 academic year, when the S.C. Athletic Administrators Association awarded its annual Directors Cup, given to the state's top overall programs.
His frequent postseason journeys were a sign of things to come, as Hilton Head High captured its third consecutive Class 3-A Directors Cup on the heels of one of the school's most successful sports years. The Seahawks edged Daniel and Eastside in the competition, which awards 100 points for every state champion and 80 for runner-ups.
Whale Branch Early College High School was the only other area school to finish in the top 10, placing seventh in the Class 1-A race.
"It's awesome to see the kids and the pride in our school with this happening," Monmonier said. "It goes to show for the kids and the coaches, this is the third AD winning a third Directors Cup and nothing's changed. It's a matter of the student-athletes and coaches going out and doing their jobs."
Hilton Head High saw every one of its sports teams qualify for the postseason this year, with four of those teams taking home state championships and another four finishing runner-up.
The girls tennis team captured its sixth state crown in a row, while the girls soccer and swim teams won their third consecutive state titles. Boys soccer took home its first championship in the history of the program with a 1-0 win over Eastside in May.
Boys track, boys golf, and boys and girls cross country all earned state runner-up finishes. Other sports shined too, as boys basketball finished with its first winning record and playoff victory since 2005, baseball shared the Region 8-AAA title and boys tennis advanced to its first Lower State final in several years, coming up just short of its first state title since 1989.
"My job right now is to try and maintain what we have, as far as our sports that are winning," Monmonier said. "And try to focus our efforts on maybe teams that aren't at the top. ... They're improving. We're trying to give the coaches and players the tools to be successful."
Monmonier knows it will be a challenge for the Seahawks to continue their impressive streak, as several of the school's premiere players depart for colleges this summer. But that isn't going to stop the program for gunning for a fourth award next June, he said.
"It's going to be a different landscape next year," he said. "We're going to have a lot of younger players and a lot of younger student-athletes that are going to have to step up. But if we don't, we don't. It's a great honor and we're going to strive to do our best, but we know this can't be sustained forever. We're still going to try."
2012-13 Directors Cup Winners
The top high school sports programs in the state for this school year, as selected by the S.C. Athletic Administrators Association:
Class 4-A: Lexington High School
Class 3-A: Hilton Head Island High School
Class 2-A: Bishop England High School
Class 1-A: St. Joseph's High School