Heading into Saturday's class A state boys and girls state cross country championship meets at Clemson's Sandhills Research Center in northeast Columbia, North Central head coach Chad Dixon knew his teams had the decks stacked against them.
Grinning from ear-to-ear while speaking in a quick, but rich Irish brogue, a 20-year-old Tom Foley entertained members of the media after winning the $100,000 Carolina Cup feature aboard the Jennifer Majette-trained Al Skywalker in the 2001 edition of the Camden spring classic.
Imagine, if you will, Jerry Buss selling the Los Angeles Lakers to a fellow NBA franchise owner after the Lakers had won the Western Division and were poised to make a run at year another league crown.
Keeping up with Jonathan Sheppard is a hard enough task for his friends and colleagues. Catching him atop the National Steeplechase Association standings? Well, let's just say you had better have a bunch of wins in your back pocket, a deep barn and a flock of committed owners.
Having traded punches and gotten the better of things for the first three quarters of Friday's AAA state playoff opener against visiting Berkeley, Camden looked like it was ready to deliver a crushing blow to the head.
How bleak were things for the Lugoff-Elgin football team just two weeks ago when the Demons sported a 2-6 overall and a 1-1 mark in Region 6-4A play following a one-sided loss to Conway?
Some reward this turned out to be for Camden.
When he first saw J.B's Thunder enter into the Keeneland Sales Ring as a yearling in 2009, Camden native and Thoroughbred trainer Frank Wooten liked the way the horse walked and seemed to handle himself with a crowd of prospective buyers watching his every move.
Hoping to see the team which ran roughshod over their first two foes in the AAA state volleyball tournament, Camden head coach Paige Wilson saw the squad whose uneven play, at times, during the regular season cost them a chance to come away with more victories.
As Zack Neal's father and football coach, Jimmy Neal was as proud as he could have been about his son's two, possibly, game-saving interceptions which helped preserved Camden's 7-3 win over visiting Marlboro County in Friday's regular season finale at Zemp Stadium.
Forget knocking at the door, Lugoff-Elgin is ready to let itself into the state 4A playoffs … as a possible conference champion.
It's already looking like a good 2011 for the 2010 North Central football program.
All season long, Camden head volleyball coach Paige Wilson talked about searching for that complete game; a victory on which her team could hang its collective hat.
Unlike last year, there are no region title implications surrounding tonight's game between Camden and visiting Marlboro County. That was taken care of when Hartsville clinched the conference crown with a 24-14 victory over MC last week, squashing any threat of a three-way tie at the top, depending on the outcome of this evening's game at Zemp Stadium.
There is little chance that even with a win over visiting C.A. Johnson tonight, that North Central can earn a berth in next week's first round of the class A playoffs. That does not mean, however, that the season finale is a throwaway game.
It was meant to be nothing more than an innocent off-season bullpen session. But for Kenneth Prince it turned out to be a season-ender.
As spacious as American Legion Park is, Richland Northeast could have almost done without the outfield grass in topping host Camden, 5-2, in the Kershaw-Richland Wooden Bat Classic championship game Thursday night.
If there was a recurring theme for Lugoff-Elgin in the Kershaw-Richland Wooden Bat Classic, it was the Demons' having their share of chances to pull out wins in three of their games, only to have nothing to show for those efforts in the win column.
On an unseasonably cool mid-April night, Zac Bowers and Grey Hoke provided wood for the fireplace.
By TOM DIDATO
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