Spring Break means return of Nike Palmetto Cup

By Thomas Grant Jr.

The Nike Palmetto Cup kicked off Tuesday at Saluda Shoals Park.

For the Gray Collegiate Academy boys soccer team, it’s another opportunity to prepare themselves for a potential state championship run without playing region games.

Up first was Class 5A Blythewood High School. The War Eagles scored early and late in the 2-0 win, getting a 25-foot goal by Andres Campo in the first minute and a short goal by Carlos Vasquez with two minutes left in the first half.

“You play 5A in the first game of the tournament,” Gray Collegiate head coach Kevin Heise said. “Palmetto Cup is notorious for tough, tough games and it’s a grind over three days. It’s kind of a survival of a fittest mode when you get in this tournament. Three days, three games and we play good, quality competition every day. To get the points in the first game and get the quality result, you couldn’t ask for a better outing to be honest with you.”

It was the 20th win of the season for Gray Collegiate. Despite injuries to starters Vasquez and captain Ben Richards, who’s not expected to return until the post-season, head coach Kevin Heise believes this is the “deepest team” he has coached in his long legendary career.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had 24, 25 players on a roster that were all soccer players,” he said. “That have all they’ve committed to being (soccer players). That’s what they do. We’ve had to fill in some athletes here and there over the year and some guys that want to come out and prove themselves on the high school level. I don’t know we’ve ever had a team this deep, and we’ve needed it.”

Heise said “contingency plans” were in place for potential rainy weather Wednesday. For an update, visit nikepalmettocupsc.com.

(Wednesday’s Matches)

Field 2

Gaffney vs. T.L. Hanna 1 p.m.

St. James vs. Aiken 3 p.m.

Field 4

Gray Collegiate vs. Hanahan 1 p.m.

Westside vs. Blythewood 3 p.m.

(Thursday’s Matches)

Field 1

Aiken vs. T.L. Hanna 1 p.m.

Gaffney vs. St. James 3 p.m.

Field 3

Blythewood vs. Hanahan 1 p.m.

Gray Collegiate vs. Westside 3 p.m.


The War Eagles opened play in the Founders FCU Diamond Challenge at McBee High School with two victories.

They opened with a 14-4 win over the host team in three innings. Garrett Blakenship drove in three runs and winning pitcher Blaine Redmond, Drew Webber, Hunter Griggs and Trey Craig all had 2 RBI.

In Game Two, Gray Collegiate held off a late rally for a 4-3 victory over Hayes. M.J. Hornsby and Drew Webber each had two hits and an RBI for the War Eagles.

The War Eagles was scheduled to play Central and Rock Hill on Tuesday.


Before going on Spring Break, the Lady War Eagles won two games at Nation Ford High School.

The first game was an All-Lexington County matchup with Gray Collegiate.

Reagan Haggard’s 2-run single put the Lady Eagles ahead 2-1, but the Lady War Eagles responded with 11 unanswered runs to win 12-2 in five innings.

Aspen Boulware and Kaley Anderson both homered and Madison added a 2-run single in support of winning pitcher Madison Long. She stuck out five in five innings for the victory.

Gray Collegiate faced the host team in the second game. Boulware and Braelyn Triplett both homered and drove in two runs and both Long and Na’Veah Matthews had 3 RBI in the 14-4 win.

Peyton Hendrix picked up the win as she struck out six and allowed four hits.

Photos and Video by Thomas Grant Jr.