With a 7-1 victory over Charleston (South Carolina) Charter School for Math and Science in the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) Class A boys soccer state finals, Greenville (South Carolina) Christ Church Episcopal School (CCES) set the national record of 11 consecutive state titles. The game was played May 21 at Memorial Stadium in Charleston. CCES finished the season with a 21-4 record, including 10-0 in region play.
The record was formerly held by Gilford (New Hampshire) Middle School, which won 10 consecutive titles from 1987 to 1996.
Coaching the Cavaliers for the past 12 years has been David Wilcox. In his first season at the helm (2000), CCES competed in a combined Class 1A/2A class, and it lost in the quarterfinals. Beginning in 2001, the SCHSL went with a Class1A division and the Cavaliers have won it every year since. During his 12 years, Wilcox has led the squad to a 195-84-4 record.
With 11 consecutive state titles, one might think that it might start to become “old hat” at some point or perhaps lose some of its significance. However, Wilcox would disagree on that.
“All state championships are gratifying,” Wilcox said. “In fact, all wins are gratifying. We truly do take it just one game at a time, with each game we are currently preparing for or playing being the one we consider the most important one of the season. This season, we accomplished a lot, earning a school-record 21 victories and an undefeated 10-0 region season.”
Among the leaders on the field this year was junior captain Cole Seiler, who played attacking center midfielder for the Cavaliers and provided great leadership both in training and in games. He scored 12 goals (six of which were game-winners), and had 10 assists. Seiler was considered one of South Carolina’s top players this year and was nominated for statewide Gatorade Player of the Year. However, according to Wilcox, Seiler’s greatest accomplishment was how well he made his teammates better through his play and leadership.
Senior captain Hunter Sieber played center back and anchored a strong defense that was very difficult for opponents to break down. Junior strikers Hunter Townes (14 goals and 19 assists) and Rivers Hughes (14 goals and seven assists) were dynamic and scored big goals in big games all year. Five Cavaliers (Seiler, Sieber, Dirk Pieper, Colin Walker and Austin Rackley were named all-state.
“Among the keys to our success are we added a junior varsity team last year, and Michael Brearley, who was a 2008 graduate and four-year starter for us, has been the coach both years,” Wilcox noted. “In addition, our schedule is very challenging and we always reach the playoffs battle-tested. With a very strong region this year, our 10-0 region record was a great accomplishment for the team.
“Our fitness level is very good and our work rate is very high, and the players are very committed and quite smart. We learn quickly from our mistakes and our players are committed to excellence both on the field and in the classroom. None of the players want to be on the team that is part of the end to the championship streak.”
Although CCES loses two senior captains, a starting goalkeeper and two reserve seniors, the cupboard’s not completely bare as it returns several good players for next season. In addition to the aforementioned Seiler, Rackley, Townes and Hughes, brothers junior Shota Amano and freshman Ryuta Amano are very talented and will be looked upon to be key contributors, along with other talented young players.