On Saturday, May 13, 2017, the Scott’s Branch High School track teams made history. Both teams won the 1A State Track Championship, with many members of both teams taking the podium in individual events. Nearly a year later, the teams have barely been recognized. The Item ran a single article the day following the meet, and the school’s marquee greeted students with a congratulatory message. And that was the end of their recognition.
Both the boys and girls teams worked hard to achieve their championship titles. The girls team had a 56 point lead over runner-up team Lewisville and the boys team had a 110 point lead over runner-up McBee. That large of a lead is almost unheard of, with some championships won by a single point.
Leading up to their State Championship, both teams won their Region meet and the Lower State meet. For the second year in a row. What do these well-deserving athletes have to show for their hard work? A t-shirt. After their Region Championships, the athletes purchased their own t-shirts to celebrate their victory. The coaches paid for many of them out of their own pockets.
Last week, the girls varsity basketball team advanced to the Lower State Championship after winning the Region Championship. The school supported the team by arranging for students to attend the game, which was held in Florence. When the track team went to the State track meet last year, a few parents of the track team and the SRO made the trip to Columbia to support their Eagles.
At the Clarendon School District Board Meeting held Monday, March 5th, members of the school board offered to donate their stipends to purchase jackets for the Lady Eagles Varsity Basketball Region Champions. Congratulations ladies, wear those jackets with pride!
It is tradition for State Champions to receive rings commemorating their victory. Nothing was said about the school board or district buying rings for the State Track Champions. Every State Champion team in the area has received championship rings, except for the Scott’s Branch Eagles track team.
This is not about recognizing the basketball team. They absolutely deserve to be recognized. So do the boys and girls track teams. The athletes who worked hard at every practice and every meet deserve rings commemorating their victory. The coaches who spent afternoons, evenings, and weekends with their teams deserve to see their athletes recognized. The parents who transported their athletes to and from practices and meets, who spent long hours cheering their athletes on from the stands, deserve to see their children recognized.
To the members of Clarendon School District 1 and the community: I urge you to begin supporting all teams equally. The boys and girls track teams are gearing up for what promises to be another State Championship season. Please attend their home track meets. You will not be disappointed. If you know nothing about track, don’t worry. Spend some time sitting in the stands with the parents and athletes, and they will explain everything to you. And when the Eagles qualify for the State track meet, travel to Columbia to support them. You might just have a chance to witness history.
To the members of the Clarendon School District 1 Board of Trustees: Do what is right. Recognize these athletes as they deserve to be recognized. They deserve more than a t-shirt. They deserve something representative of their talent, pride, and victory. They deserve State Champion rings.