The Daily Gamecock

Up-and-comers eye championship bids

Athletes hoping for successful seasons in 2013-14

With the 2013-2014 sports seasons right around the corner, South Carolina will be looking to capture conference and national championships. Here are eight athletes to watch as the Gamecocks battle for titles.

Olivia Lawrence — Softball — Catcher/ First Base — Junior
Lawrence made nine starts last year, seeing time at catcher, first base and designated hitter. The Gamecocks went 8-1 in the games in which Lawrence was in the starting lineup. In 2013, Lawrence had a higher on-base percentage (.596) and slugging percentage (.710) than any Gamecock with more than two at-bats on the season. Despite having just 31 at-bats during the year, Lawrence finished the season tied for fifth on the team with three homeruns and third on the team in batting average (.387). The New Jersey native also set a school record when she scored five runs in a win over Alabama State.

Tyrone Johnson — Men’s Basketball — Guard — Junior
Johnson transferred to USC from Villanova in January and will be eligible to play for the Gamecocks after the fall semester concludes. As a member of the Wildcats, Johnson started nine games during the 2011-2012 season and dished out 65 assists during the year. He averaged 3.3 points per game during the season and scored a season-high 14 points in a win against Connecticut. Johnson, who will have two years of eligibility at South Carolina, was chosen as a member of the Washington Post’s All-Metro first-team during his high school career. Johnson attended Montrose Christian School where he was teammates with current Gamecock forward Michael Carrera.

Chelsea Drennan — Women’s Soccer — Midfielder — Freshman
A four-star recruit out of T.L. Hanna High School, Drennan earned four letters playing for the Yellow Jackets. TopDrawerSoccer ranked Drennan as the 19th-best prospect in the South Atlantic Region. Drennan was the Player of the Year and was named an NCSAA All-American. As a sophomore and junior at T.L. Hanna, she was the SCCAWS 4A Player of the Year. Drennan was named as an All-Region and All-State player in her first three seasons for the Yellow Jackets. Drennan won a state championship in club soccer for eight consecutive years (2005-2012). Her older brother, Andrew, was a goalkeeper for Wofford from 2009-2012.

Kevin Leithold — Men’s Swimming & Diving — Freestyle/ Butterfly — Sophomore
Leithold, a native of Sandersdorf, Germany, competed at the German World Championship Trials in April of this year. Leithold advanced to the A final in the 50-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle, as well as the consolation final of the 50-meter freestyle. Leithold swam a personal best 24.79 in the final of the 50-meter butterfly to finish seventh. He swam a 49.89 in the 100-meter freestyle preliminary, which was a personal best and was good enough for a second-place finish. Before coming to South Carolina, Leithold won a bronze medal in the Youth Olympic Games and the Junior European Championships.

Tyler Brockington — Women’s Track & Field — Sprints — Sophomore
Brockington finished fourth in the 400-meter hurdle finals at the USA Junior Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, this summer. Brockington recorded the fifth-fastest time in the preliminaries by running a 59.40 in her heat. An NCAA qualifier and two-time All American, Brockington won an indoor state championship in the 300-meter hurdles and the 55-meter hurdles during her senior year at Dudley High School in North Carolina. As a sophomore at Dudley, the Greensboro native won a state title in the indoor 4×400-meters and three outdoor state championships in the 4×100, 4×400 and the 300-meter hurdles.

Darian Dozier — Women’s Volleyball — Middle Blocker — Sophomore
Dozier started 22 matches as a freshman and played in 31 of South Carolina’s 32 contests last season. Dozier recorded a career-high six blocks in a win over rival Clemson. Against SEC foe LSU, Dozier set another career-best, as she posted five block assists. Dozier also had 12 kills in the match against Auburn. Dozier was a second-team Under Armour/AVCA High School All-American selection and earned the D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year award during her time at St. Johns College High School. She was also the SJC Player of the Year in 2010. Both of Dozier’s older sisters played college volleyball.

Koty Millard — Men’s Soccer — Midfielder — Freshman
Millard, a native of Columbia, was named the Elite Soccer Report Spring National Player of the Year and the Player of the Year. He also captured South Carolina’s Gatorade Player of the Year honor earlier this year. Millard, who was a four-year letter winner in high school, led Cardinal Newman to a state championship in his senior season. Millard is in the player pool for the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team. Millard was a member of the U.S. U-15 National Team in 2010, when he played in four international matches. TopDrawerSoccer named Millard the top recruit in the South Atlantic Region.

D.C. Arendas — Baseball — Infielder — Sophomore
Arendas played in 13 games with one start during the 2013 season. Arendas has a perfect fielding percentage of 1.000 during the year, recording seven putouts and 13 assists as an infielder. He was one of only seven Gamecocks on the season to not make an error. Arendas played his summer ball as a member of the Columbia Blowfish of the Coastal Plain League. Coming out of Northern Guilford High School, Arendas was rated as the 10th-best recruit in the state of North Carolina. Arendas’s father, Dave, played baseball at North Carolina and is married to Chad Holbrook’s sister, Nicole.


Trending Now

Send a Tip Get Our Email Editions