Teams continue successful run in athletics
By Joseph W. Gex, II
May 30, 2017, 17:57
As the chords of 'Pomp and Circumstance' fade into the quickly approaching summer breeze, another school year comes to a our close.
Our teams that we cheered throughout this past academic year did not disappoint either. The titles may not have numbered as many as in years past but the overall strength and performance of our beloved competitors left a lasting impression throughout the state.
The school year got off on the right track early with cross country, football, volleyball and swimming all enjoying tremendous success.
On the trails, cross country weaved its way to solid finishes at the state meet in November.
Our Lady Academy and St. Stanislaus both earned division titles. At the state meet, the Crescents and the Rocks finished the season on the podium in the bronze position.
Also at the state meet, Pass Christian and Hancock had top twenty finishes in their respective classes with the Lady Pirates 10th in 4A and the Pirates 13th in 4A. The Lady Hawks were 22nd in 6A while the Hawks ended in 20th in 6A.
On the gridiron, two teams advanced to the state playoffs with Pass Christian and St. Stanislaus both extending their seasons.
The Rocks won the Division 8-4A title and advanced to the second round of the playoffs while Pass Christian advanced to the first round of the playoffs as a #4-seed.
The area was blessed with four All-Americans on the gridiron including SSC QB Myles Brennan, SSC TE Chase Rogers, SSC TE Darius Pittman and SSC LB Lewie Negrotto.
The Rocks also had four Division I signed a with Brennan (LSU), Rogers (ULL), Pittman (Purdue) and All-State WR Corbin Blanchard (Air Force).
The sport of volleyball has become a model of success for the area teams. This past year two area teams claimed state championships while three teams qualified for the playoffs.
The Crescents have become the standard-bearer for the sport in Mississippi. In October, OLA claimed their fifth consecutive Class I state championship and 11th title overall.
The Lady Hawks of Hancock broke through this past season and claimed the Class III state title after three consecutive trips to the finals.
The Bay High Lady Tigers also advanced to the Class II state playoffs to give Hancock County the honor of having all three teams in the postseason.
The area was paced by two All-Americans on the volleyball court with OLA's Emma Funk and Hancock's Madison Ladner. This is the second year that Funk has been selected and Ladner becomes Hancock's first All-American on the court.
In swimming, SSC broke through to claim the Class I state championship for the first time in school history.
The Crescents placed fifth in the final standings in Class I while the Hawks placed 12th in Class II. The Pirates placed 12th in Class I.
The winter sports of soccer and basketball continued to be a source of pride for the area.
In basketball, the Bay High Tigers won the Division 8-4A title and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs while the Lady Tigers were division runner-up and advanced to the first round of the playoffs.
The Lady Pirates won the Division 8-4A title and advanced to the second round of the state playoffs. The Pirates also advanced to the second round of the postseason.
In soccer, it was another year of solid competition. The Bay High Tigers dropped the division title but won the Class 4A South State title and lost in the state finals.
The Rocks won the Division 8-4A title and fell to the Tigers in the South State title game.
The Lady Tigers advanced to the second round of the playoffs while OLA won their division title but fell in the second round.
The Lady Pirates won the division title but fell in the second round of the playoffs.
The spring sports of golf, tennis, baseball, softball and track and field were highly successful for the area.
On the baseball diamond, SSC won the Division 8-4A title and advanced to the second round of the playoffs while Bay High advanced to the postseason.
On the softball diamond, Hancock had their best run in a decade advancing to the state quarter-finals while OLA advanced to the first round of the playoffs. Pass Christian made an appearance in the second round of the state playoffs.
In tennis, the SSC/OLA team advanced to the second round of the team championship while several members of all schools advanced in the individual state tournament.
On the links, both OLA and SSC finished second overall at the state championships. SSC won the Division 8-4A title while OLA won the Class I division title. OLA's Callee Breland placed second individually overall, as well.
The Lady Pirates placed 10th overall in Class II while Hancock had two individuals play in both the boys Class 6A and girls Class III state tournaments.
On the track and in the field, the Rocks won the Division 8-4A title and placed runner-up in the Region and South State meets before earning silver at the Class 4A state meet. It was the second time in school history that the Rocks have state runner-up (2013 and 2017).
The Crescents placed runner-up at the Division, Region and South State meets and placed fourth in Class 2A.
The Pass Christian boys were 13th overall and the Lady Pirates were 18th overall.
In sailing, the Rocks were the state champions for the third time.
In the activity of cheer, Hancock placed fifth in the small varsity non-tumble 3A-6A division. In the large varsity non-tumble division, Pass Christian was eighth. Bay High placed fifth in the small varsity coed division.
In dance, Bay High was third in both small varsity jazz and small varsity kick while Hancock earned fifth in small varsity kick. Hancock also placed eighth in Hip Hop 5A-6A.
And in band, Bay High earned superior marks in marching, concert, sight reading and earned the Sweepstakes Award. Hancock earned a superior mark in marching. Pass Christian earned superior marks in marching, concert, sight reading and won the Sweepstakes Award.
As the school year comes to a close in one of Mississippi's smaller counties, the area not only shined bright academically, it also shined bright in the many extracurriculars. And, it gives the area reason to look to the future for more stars to shine bright in the years to come. To all those graduating, congratulations to all of you on your many wonderful achievements in the classroom and on the fields of play. To the ones who return next year, the bar has been set. Get a running start and strive beyond reach to surpass it. See you at the games!