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Here’s hoping for a prosperous 2016

Posted: December 30, 2015 3:48 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2016 1:00 a.m.

Another year has come and gone and for Kershaw County sports in 2015, it was a mixed bag. Here’s hoping that 2016 will be even better for all athletes, coaches, administrators and fans.

These are just a few of the things we hope will happen in our little corner of the sports world over the next 366 (it is a leap year, you know) days.

A TITLE COMES TO KC: It has been five-plus seasons since a high school team from Kershaw County has brought home a High School League state championship. The last, if you’re wondering, was won by the 2010 Lugoff-Elgin baseball team which took the AAA crown. Last spring, the Camden High baseball team advanced to the AAA Upper State championship game only to be upended by eventual champion Belton-Honea Path.

With new classifications coming into effect in the fall of 2016, there will be some rather intriguing scenarios in which a local program can find its way into competing for a state title in the future.

A KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER FROM CAMDEN: Horses developed or sent from Camden have gone on to glory and have won virtually every race imaginable save for one; the Kentucky Derby. That could change come this May should Mohaymen stay healthy and on his current upward path.

The 3-year-old Tapit colt out of the Dixie Union mare Justwhistledixie, was the $2.2 million co-sale topper at the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale and was purchased by Shadwell Stable. From the sales ring, Mohaymen was sent to the Camden Training Center and to the Shadwell Stable barn which is managed by trainer Kevin Kahkola.

After learning the ropes in Camden from Kahkola and his crew of workers, Mohaymen was sent to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who also trained the Shadwell-owned Jazil which left the same barn in Camdenthen managed by the late Bob Witham, and won the 2006 Belmont Stakes.

Mohaymen concluded his 2-year-old campaign by winning all three of his starts with the final pair being in stakes company. The first of those scores came in the $200,000 Nashua Stakes (Gr. 2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 4. Then, on Nov. 28, Mohaymen closed out his first year at the track by taking the $300,000 Remsen Stakes (Gr. 2), also at Aqueduct.

Mohaymen’s 3-for-3 start to his career has been worth $345,000 in earnings. It has also made him an early Derby favorite with his odds falling from 100-to-1 to 10-to-1.

AN UNINTERRUPTED FOOTBALL SEASON: Last fall provided the Midlands and other parts of the state with an extended football season due to the rain and flooding due to the remnants of Hurricane Joaquin. 

With school days being postponed due to problems with roads and facilities, games for the first weekend of October were left in limbo. Some teams in various parts of the state which did not bear the full brunt of the storm played their games as scheduled while others were left in limbo until the High School League finally came out with an announcement that the season would be extended by a week in order for all regular season games to be played. The delay in that decision left some teams with nearly two full weeks off before the post season.

In the same vein, the weather and programs which shut down their football team due to lack of players led to the Camden Military Academy football team going 28 days between games only to play three games in a seven-day span in order to make those contests up. Rest assured, Spartan head coach Will Rice saw more than his share of the Weather Channel and rainfall than he could have ever imagined last fall.

A NEW DAY FOR RHAME CITY ARENA: A remodeled E. Clarkson Rhame City Arena in Camden played host to the Mid-Carolina Credit Union Classic basketball tournament on Dec. 21-22. The two-day, four-school event featured the boys and girls basketball teams from Camden, Lugoff-Elgin and North Central high schools and looks to be a permanent fixture on the county’s hoops schedule.

Will the facility play host to high school wrestling tournaments in the future is something which may also be a possibility down the road. But the success of the inaugural basketball tournament and the positive reviews it generated cannot help but attract more events of these types to the facility.

MORE SHOWS AT South Carolina EQUINE PARK: The completion of a second covered show ring earlier this year only enhanced SCEP’s reputation as a premier facility to host equine events featuring all breeds.

With state of the art footing, organizers who understand what clients and show managers are looking for in bringing an event to a facility, one can only hope that a schedule which has very few openings on the docket will have an even busier slate in 2016.

A RETURN TO GLORY FOR THE COLONIAL CUP: Among the top priorities which Nick Ellis had on his list when taking over as the Chief Executive Officer of the Carolina Cup Racing Association was to try and restore the Colonial Cup to its past glory and maintain its place as the most prestigious stop on the National Steeplechase Association schedule.

This past fall, the implementation of premier seating beneath the tent located along the home stretch of the Springdale Race Course played to rave reviews as the 200-plus seats did not stay on the market long.

That was just one of the wrinkles which Ellis brought with him to Camden. His other mission was to attract new sponsors, the lifeblood of the sports industry for both the Colonial Cup and its more-celebrate colleague, the Carolina Cup.

Here is hoping that the momentum generated by Ellis and the Camden fall classic continues as Camden continues its rightful spot as the steeplechase capital of the world

There are many other things we are hoping for in 2016 but time and space do not allow for all those to make it into this space.

For now, let’s hope for a fruitful, properous and healthy 2016 whether it involves sports or not.


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