By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON – Cameron Edwards made 2022 a year to remember in South Effingham athletics.
The senior accomplished a rare feat by outdistancing the field in the triple jump for the second straight year at the GHSA Class 6A Boys State Track and Field Championships in Carrollton last spring.
Edwards’ jump of 47 feet, 1.5 inches was his personal best and topped his closest competition by more than a foot.
The track championship capped a banner year for Edwards, who also captured the Region 2-6A Offensive Player of the Year in football after running for 1,093 yards and eight touchdowns.
Edwards signed to run track and play football at Savannah State University.
Softball wins region, advances to Columbus
SEHS made a return to the top of the region with a nail-biting 1-0 victory over rival Effingham County in the decisive season-ending region clash in the fall.
The Mustangs finished 26-7 under first-year coach Adam Newland and won a four-team tourney to advance to the Class 6A Softball Championships in Columbus.
SEHS gave second-ranked Lassiter a scare, falling 3-2 in the first game of state before winning its second game behind a no-hitter from Bailey Kendziorski.
The Mustangs finished with a No. 5 ranking in Class 6A, according to a season-ending poll conducted by ScoreAtlanta.
Kendziorski earned the Region 2 Pitcher of the Year award for the second straight year. Shortstop Kenzie Ergle, third baseman Whitney Thompson, second baseman Emma Darrow and catcher Jaden Burns were named first-team all-region.
Wrestler Galindez wins state in 113-pound weight class.
Jacob Galindez became the school’s third state wrestling champion when he captured the 113-weight class crown in February.
Galindez finished the season with a 42-10 record, mostly competing at 120 pounds, before slimming down to 113 and winning region, sectionals and state.
At sectionals, Galindez defeated a 48-0 foe in the finals, then defeated the same wrestler with a pin in the last seconds of the state championship match.
Galindez, now enrolled at Georgia Southern, was a finalist for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Wrestler of the Year.
Football doubles win total, makes push for postseason
The football program, which had struggled to win just three games in the previous two years (1-9 in 2020 and 2-8 in 2021), made positive strides and won four games in the fall.
South posted back-to-back shutouts (against Islands and Bradwell Institute) for the first time in school history and won two region games for the first time since 2015.
Despite losing key offensive playmaker Jamari Fields in Week 2, the Mustangs remained in the playoff hunt until the final game of the season when they fell short to Evans, 37-24.
Linebacker Jah’Tavion Weickerson earned first-team, all-region honors after helping a defense that allowed more than 40 points a game in 2021 improve to just under 19 points a game in 2022.
Running back Justin Martell and punter Dalton Redmond also claimed first-team honors.
Phillips wins region title in cross country
Tyler Phillips may have been the comeback athlete of the year for South Effingham. A stress fracture kept Phillips from competing for most of the track and field season in the spring.
But the junior returned to running in the fall and captured a cross country region championship on the College of Coastal Georgia course.
Phillips finished with a time of 16:13 to win by about 21 seconds. He finished sixth at state.
Phillips won a cross country region championship as a freshman, then finished second as a sophomore.