Elysse Pardus cried at the lectern last year.
Porter-Gaud’s swimming star made it about halfway through announcing her college commitment to Auburn last fall when tears began to blur her eyes.
Pardus stood at the front of the school library again last Wednesday, this time to make her commitment to the Tigers official. She could’ve cried then too, though with slightly different sentiment.
“Last year, the emotions were all the stress being relieved. This year was a happy and exciting time to have the chance to thank everyone who has supported me,” Pardus said after signing her college letter of intent on the opening day of the early fall signing period. “It’s so much more real. It’s just that step closer to getting to Auburn with my new official family.”
Pardus won four gold medals and set three new state at the SCISA championship meet in October. She currently holds eight different state records and has won more than 20 individual state championships in one of the most dominant careers in state history.
Pardus didn’t lose a SCISA event for more than five seasons. Porter-Gaud’s girls team had never won a state championship before she arrived. Now they’re the only team to ever win five straight in SCISA’s Class AAA.
“It was very emotional to realize that I’m going away to college soon,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the amazing coaching staff and amazing teammates that will be (at Auburn) every day pushing me to be my best.”
Pardus was one of three Porter-Gaud athletes to sign last Wednesday. Mari Gillum signed with Winthrop women’s soccer and Chase Cannon is headed to Hampden-Sydney to play basketball.
Bishop England had three athletes sign as well. Alexis DeMarco signed with Western Carolina women’s soccer. Mic Marcacci is headed to Assumption College for lacrosse. Madison Lawless will play basketball at Belmont Abby.
Oceanside two-sport standout Joey Boylston made his commitment to Utah lacrosse official.
Boylston was an Under Armour All-American tournament selection and first-team all-state defender for the AA state champion Landsharks last spring. The three-year starter scooped 45 ground balls, had 19 takeaways and four interceptions on a Landsharks defense that saw some of the best competition in South Carolina and played eight of its 14 regular season games against teams from out of state.
Boylston was one of five Oceanside lacrosse players to sign on Wednesday. Luke Akers signed with Mars Hill. Cameron Weeks is headed to York College. Kyle Carretta will play for the University of Lynchburg and Owen Ciali inked with Lander.
“I think my generation is starting to give South Carolina and the Lowcountry some recognition,” Boylston said. “The Lowcountry is going to start getting more respect from the lacrosse community in the next couple of years if it continues to produce college players. And I hope, at some point, it will earn enough respect to where big-time schools start coming to southern or even Lowcountry tournaments.”
Also from Oceanside, T.J. Provenzano signed with Francis Marion, Darren Kraft to Erskine and Cooper Gaskins to Limestone from the Landsharks’ state runner-up baseball team.
Three players signed from Oceanside’s three-time defending state champion girls golf team. Rachel Rich is headed to Western Kentucky. Kayla Bartemeyer will play for James Madison and Abigail Schimpf signed with USC.
Landsharks softball standout Camden Carter signed with the College of Charleston. Two-time volleyball state finalist Sophie Meredith will matriculate to USC Aiken. Thaddeus Dennis signed with Wofford from the Landsharks’ state champion soccer team. Jorge Rivera signed with North Greenville to play men’s volleyball, a sport that’s not offered in South Carolina high schools.