College sports briefs for June 30th-July 6th

in Sports by
Devin Taylor
Devin Taylor

PRO FOOTBALL

Taylor heading into 4th season as Lion 

Beaufort High School graduate Devin Taylor is poised to take the field for his fourth season with the Detroit Lions in the National Football League. A defensive end, Taylor earned the Detroit Lions’ Chuck Hughes Most Improved Player Award earlier in the year.

After recording one sack in 2014, Taylor registered a career-high seven in 2015. His seven sacks exceeded his total from the previous two years combined (3.5).

Taylor finished the season with a positive 2.6 grade from Pro Football focus. He also notched a pass defended, a forced fumble, four quarterback hits and 23 QB hurries.

Taylor was called for just one penalty, which is tied for the fourth-fewest among 4-3 defensive ends that played at least 500 snaps according to PFF.

He was credited with nine sacks by PFF, which ranked 10th among 4-3 defensive ends. His six-sack improvement tied for 10th best in the NFL for the 2015 season.

Taylor and the rest of the Detroit Lions are scheduled to visit the Pittsburgh Steelers for a preseason game at Heinz Field on Aug. 12.

BASEBALL/SOFTBALL

Bluffton teams advance to state tournaments

Two Bluffton teams – one baseball and one softball – have advanced to Dixie Youth state tournaments after capturing district championships.

In baseball, the Bluffton American All-Stars won in the AA Machine Pitch division for the 7- and 8-year-olds. Bluffton swept Hilton Head Island in the district competition, winning 12-11 in back-to-back games.

The Bluffton Angels won the 10-and-under district softball title to advance to the Dixie Youth state tournament. In the softball district title game, the Bluffton club topped Colleton County.

Each Bluffton team has some time to prepare before taking the field for its first state tournament game. The state tournaments are set to start Friday, July 8, in Florence.

Area residents have an opportunity to help the Bluffton teams on their journeys to the state tournaments. Both Bluffton squads are seeking donations. The Bluffton Americans held a fundraiser at Five Guys in Bluffton on June 27. The youth baseball team has additional fundraisers set for the Bluffton Market on Thursday, June 30, and the Okatie Ale House on Wednesday, July 6.

GoFundMe pages have also been set up.

Links for each of the two teams’ GoFundMe pages, which are located online, follow.

Bluffton Americans’ GoFundMe page link:  GoFundMe.com/2adnn3g

Bluffton Angels’ GoFundMe page link: GoFundMe.com/2apt2d8.

COLLEGE

Crick poised to enter senior season at Winthrop

Emily Crick
Emily Crick

After graduating from Hilton Head Island High School, Emily Crick has enjoyed a solid career with the Winthrop University women’s soccer program. Crick is nearing the start of her senior season with the Winthrop University soccer squad.

The Hilton Head native played in 17 games during the 2015 season, logging seven starts. Crick, who plays midfield at Winthrop University, scored two goals while taking 10 shots during her junior campaign.

As a sophomore at Winthrop in 2014, Crick played in 12 games, making one start. She scored one goal and dished out two assists during her sophomore season.

Crick and her Winthrop teammates will open the 2016 season under Smith’s guidance in August.

Senn headed into season with USC Gamecocks

Beaufort High School graduate Jason Senn spent the 2016 season as a redshirt freshman with University of South Carolina football program. Senn (5-8, 186) is a safety for the Gamecocks.

The Beaufort native, a walk-on, was added to the University of South Carolina football squad when the roster expanded in August of 2015.

Senn graduated from Beaufort High School in 2015. He played for Beaufort High School head coach Mark Clifford, earning all-area honors.

Game times have been set for South Carolina’s first three football games of the 2016 season, it was announced earlier in the month.

The Gamecocks will open the 2016 season at Vanderbilt on Thursday, Sept. 1, with an 8 p.m. start on ESPN. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series against Vanderbilt by a 21-4 margin, including an 11-2 record when the games have been played in Nashville. Carolina has won each of the last seven meetings between the two SEC Eastern Division rivals, including a 19-10 win in Columbia last season. This will mark the third time the two squads have faced each other to open the season. South Carolina won the previous two meetings, both in Nashville, by a 31-6 score in 2004 and by a 17-13 margin in 2012.

Beaufort High grad Faciszewski competing in 2016 Olympic Trials

Andrew Faciszewski
Andrew Faciszewski

A Bluffton High School graduate is one of two Air Force Academy swimmers competing in the 2016 Olympic Trials through Sunday, July 3, at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb. The 2016 Olympic Trials opened June 26.

Rising Air Force Academy seniors Andrew Faciszewski and Jordan Dahle will both compete, looking for a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. Faciszewski is swimming the mile while Dahle is competing in the 50 and 100 free events. Faciszewski is a Bluffton High School graduate.

The talented Faciszewski qualified for the trials earlier in the month in Thornton, Colo., when he swam a 16:09.83 in the mile. Dahle had previously qualified in both the 50 and 100 free earlier this season.

Simmons concludes freshman season at CCU

Beaufort High School graduate Malcolm Simmons completed his freshman season with the Coastal Carolina University men’s track and field program in late spring.

Malcolm Simmons
Malcolm Simmons

Simmons, a sprinter, appeared in eight meets for the Chanticleers.

The Beaufort native finished sixth in the 200 meter at the Big South Triangular, crossing the finish line at 22.60. Simmons ran a season-best 50.25 in the 400 Meter at the Georgia Invitational.

In early March, Simmons helped the Coastal Carolina University men’s track and field team open its season strong by defeating the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks, 112-74, in the 11th installment of the Battle of the Beaches. The 38-point advantage marked the largest margin of victory all-time by either team in the competition.

Simmons excelled throughout his high school career in Beaufort, helping to lead the tradition-rich prep track and field program.

Coastal Carolina University’s current men’s track and field roster features runners from throughout South Carolina and several other states.

The Beaufort High School graduate will begin his sophomore year at Coastal Carolina University in August.