IMG_4417.jpg

Grae Gosnell finished among the state leaders in kills this season.

Grae Gosnell thinks she’s a pretty good dancer. Some would disagree.

She’s known to shake up mundane bus rides with a little rhythm or to pass the time in between matches frolicking with teammates in the bleachers. Were it not for her sweet moves, though, whether deftly coordinated or otherwise, Gosnell may have never ended up at Indiana.

Hoosier coaches spotted Gosnell shuffling in the far end of a gym one slow day during the club volleyball season a few years ago. They were intrigued enough by her energy and enthusiasm to stick around for her match. They were impressed enough with her play throughout the rest of the day to later offer her a scholarship.

“It’s kind of crazy but that’s how it happened,” Gosnell said. “Sometimes I guess I’m crazy and energetic and they liked my personality enough to watch me play and that’s really how they found me.”

Gosnell signed with Indiana on Wednesday as one of 13 Wando athletes who made their college intentions official on the opening day of the early fall signing period.

The 5-foot-11 outside hitter finished her senior season ranked second among all S.C. High School League players in total kills this season. She’s stacked up nearly 1,400 total kills through her four-year career with the Warriors, 1,000 in the past two seasons alone.

She has a surprising bounce that propels her above the net where she takes powerful swipes. If it were Looney Tunes, she’d be the Tasmanian Devil with the ways she builds up for explosion, fires away stronger than most, and typically finishes with some sort of animated celebration. The flowing brunette mane that swings wildly behind seems appropriate too.

“Grae has a different energy,” Indiana head coach Steve Aird said, “Our staff quickly identified that we need her in our program. Not to undervalue her volleyball skills, but she is a type of human being and competitor that makes every organization better… She has a live arm, great instincts and can pass the ball. She will impact our program in a variety of ways.”

Gosnell has helped Wando to three Lower State championships and four region titles. The two-time all-state selection was at her best this fall, earning Region 7-AAAAA Player of the Year honors, along with a North-South all-star selection and an Under Armour All-American honorable mention.

She averaged just over four kills per set during the regular season. She cranked up her production to better than six per set during the postseason, including a career-high 21 in the Lower State semifinals and 18 in the Warriors’ season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals.

“She’s one of the most competitive kids that has ever played at this school,” Wando coach Alexis Glover said. “She has that tenacity and killer instinct. Indiana is getting the best hitter in South Carolina.”

Gosnell committed to Indiana as a sophomore. She spent the next few years trying to live up to expectations. She credits the Wando program, with its size and tradition, as well as her club team, the all-star assemblage Carolina Rogue, for helping prepare her for what awaits in the Big 10 Conference.

Gosnell entered the Warriors program four years ago as the little sister of Daley, a two-time state champion at Wando before becoming one of the all-time digs leaders at Presbyterian. Gosnell credits her sister for not only helping navigate the recruiting process but teaching her how to stand on her own. She now has her own unmistakable identity.

Gosnell isn’t just standing on her own. She’s dancing.

Also signing from Wando on Wednesday, girls golf standout Regan Clifford is headed to Winthrop. Clifford is a six-time letterman, three-time region champion and three-time all-region selection. She’s twice been named Region 7-AAAAA Player of the Year and, this fall, was selected to the North-South all-star team.

Swimming star Gabi Reed signed with South Carolina. Reed led Wando to four consecutive region titles without a single conference loss. She was named Region 7-AAAAA Swimmer of the Year this fall as an all-region selection in four different events. With Reed as senior captain, Wando captured its third consecutive state championship this season.

Track and field standout Dylan McCarthy will join Reed at USC. McCarthy is ranked first in the state and 25th in the entire nation in the pole vault event. He won the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics state championship as a sophomore before returning to win the national championship his junior year.

McCarthy’s teammate will become his rival as Riley Lair is headed to Clemson. Lair joined the track team just two years ago and is already ranked third in the state in the shot put event and inside the top 25 in the discus throw.

Wando lacrosse had three signees. Daniel Cain is headed to Roanoke College, Zach Dinwiddie to Belmont Abbey and Nathan Fasanaro to Colgate. Cain stopped 57% of shots on goal while splitting time in the net for the Lower State champion Warriors this season. Dinwiddie is a transfer from North Carolina who’s also stood out on the club scene. Fasanaro scored 45 goals with 45 assists last spring, second-most in school history. The 2019 all-state selection has won state titles in both North Carolina and South Carolina.

Austin Mosher will continue his golf career at Winthrop. Mosher is a four-time state qualifier and two-time team MVP. He earned all-state honors last spring as medalist of the AAAAA Lower State tournament.

Wando baseball also had three signees. Catcher and infielder Connor Cino signed with USC, Christian Constantinou with USC Sumter and Tyler Steeland with LeGrange. Cino hit .350 with 20 RBIs for Wando last spring. As a catcher, he allowed just one passed ball all season. As an infielder, .987 fielding percentage.

Constantinou, a right-handed pitcher, posted a 2.18 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched. Steeland, a lefty, struck out 17 batters through 21 ⅓ innings with a 2.63 ERA.