Category Archives: Sports


By Nicole Chisari

Winthrop University

ROCK HILL — Brandon Dill is trying to get comfortable with biking next to trucks on the open road.

“I’ve been riding on the road when I can,” said the Winthrop University senior, a 2015 Pickens High School graduate. “It’s still hard to get used to a semi-truck passing within five feet of me, but I’m a lot calmer now. … I’m about 70 percent prepared. The rest, I’m winging it.”

He’ll need that calm this June, when he’ll bike approximately 3,500

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Pickens’ Wierzbicki named top 4A player

PICKENS — On Feb. 24, Pickens High School senior Lexi Wierzbicki was presented the S.C. State 4A Volleyball Player of the Year award. The award was presented by the South Carolina Coaches Association of Women’s Sports. The ceremony was held at the S.C. Museum in Columbia.

Wierzbicki, a senior middle hitter, led Pickens to a 32-2 record and a second straight state runner-up finish in Class 4A. A Jacksonville University signee, she led the Blue Flame with 327 kills, 386 digs and 46 solo blocks, and was second on the team with 74 total blocks.

In September, Wierzbicki was named to the all-tournament team at

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Liberty’s standout Boozer signs to play for Limestone

By Bru Nimmons

Staff Reporter

LIBERTY — Liberty High School is sending another athlete to the next level, as football standout Zane Boozer signed with Limestone College on Feb. 28.

“Zane is a complete package,” Liberty coach Kyle Stewart said. “Not only is he a great player on the field, but he does his job in the classroom. He has worked hard to set himself up with this opportunity, and we are very excited for him.”

Boozer, a two-time all-region player, finished his senior season with

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More than a game

Easley coach faces son on the diamond

ANDERSON — The Easley High School baseball team opened its Region I-5A schedule on Tuesday evening on the road at Westside, but for the head coaches of both teams, it was much more than a game.

Father and son faced off in opposite dugouts for the first time in more than 20 years, as two first-year South Carolina head coaches did battle with Gill Payne leading the Green Wave and his son, Jarrod Payne, at the helm of the Rams.

Although the results were unavailable at press time Tuesday, both Paynes reflected on the significance of the game ahead of time.

“Honestly, this is something that I never imagined would happen,” said Gill Payne, whose coaching career includes experience at the

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PHS baseball plans first Military Appreciation Day

PICKENS — The Pickens High School baseball team will host its first-ever Military Appreciation Day on Friday, March 22, at 6 p.m. at Blue Flame Field.

This special event will be held in conjunction with the Blue Flame’s game against the Walhalla Razorbacks. Pickens baseball coach Stan Butler would like to invite all current military service members and veterans to the event, as well as families of current or retired military members.

The event will be free of charge to all military members and their

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Local wrestlers medal at state championship tourney

Courtesy photos

The athletes of Pickens County had another successful week on the mat, as three of the county’s top wrestlers came away with medals at the individual state wrestling championship over the weekend. In the Class 5A championship, the big winner of the event was junior Joshua Hill of Easley, above. Hill, who competed and won in the 195-pound weight division, became the first wrestler in Easley history to win a state wrestling championship. Meanwhile, at the Class 4A tournament, Pickens’ Elijah Holder, top left, came in third in the 138-pound division, while Garrett Kloth, bottom left, also came in third in the 145-pound division.


New Easley football coach: ‘We found something special here’

By Eugene Jolley
Courier Sports

EASLEY — Hundreds of Easley supporters, fans, parents, players and administrators got the chance last week to meet new head football coach Caleb King and his family at a meet and greet in the school’s gym.

King drove a U-haul truck all day to get to the meet and greet on Feb. 19.

“It wasn’t as comfortable a ride as you would think it would be,” he said.

After a very successful run at his alma mater, Havelock (N.C.) High School, King accepted the job as head coach of the Green

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Flame grapplers qualify for state tournament

The Pickens High School wrestling team had a successful run at the individual Upper State wrestling tournament on Feb. 15-16. The event, which was held at Eastside High School, saw four Blue Flame wrestlers place. Jeffrey Hollingsworth came in third place in the 106-pound division, Elijah Holder came in third in the 138-pound division, Garret Kloth came in second in the 145-pound division and Ben Joye came in third place in the 152-pound division. The athletes will now move on to the individual state tournament at the Anderson Civic Center this Friday nad Saturday. Pictured, from left, are Coach Hough, head coach Sean Mansfield, Ben Joye, Elijah Holder, Jeffery Hollingsworth, Garrett Kloth, Coach Breelove and Coach Joye.


Local athletes sign with colleges

By Bru Nimmons
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — National Signing Day was held on Wednesday, Feb. 6, and the day saw some of Pickens County’s top student-athletes sign to continue their playing careers at the next level.

Pickens High School North-South all-star Braden Gravely signed with North Greenville University to continue his playing career on the gridiron. The Blue Flame sent two softball standouts to the next level as well, as Jade Hendricks and Beth Hyatt signed with Allen University and Brevard College, respectively.

Pickens also had multiple athletes sign during the early signing period, with the Lady Blue Flame golf squad sending two players into the collegiate ranks, as sisters Rachel and Sarah Page signed with Southern Wesleyan University. Both were members of a Pickens golf team that finished second in the Class 4A state tournament, and Rachel was named to the All-State team. Pickens volleyball also sent two players onto the next level coming off a successful season in which the Flame finished as state runners-up in Class 4A. Abby

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Liberty Middle School hoops team goes from worst to first

LIBERTY — Coming off a long 0-13 season a year ago, the Liberty Middle School boys’ basketball team completed quite the worst-to-first bid this year.
Led by coach Charlie McKenzie, the boys wrapped up their regular season on Thursday, Jan. 24, with a 37-27 victory over Honea Path. It was a hard-fought contest throughout, but the Falcons finally seized control of the game in the third quarter.
After returning six players from last season’s squad, the win improved their overall record to 11-2 and pushed their conference record to a league-best 9-1 to secure the regular season AOP Conference Division III championship.
After the regular season-ending victory, the players were able to cut down the

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