2020-2021 Winter Sports Preview
Winter sports may look a lot different in 2020-2021. With new coaches, players, COVID-19 protocols, and many other changes; the Capitals look to explode onto the scene. Columbia will look to field three boys basketball teams (B team, JV, and Varsity), two girls basketball teams (JV and Varsity), and look to have a wrestling team that returns with huge expectations. Here is what fans and alumni can look for from each team:
Boys Basketball: Coach Geter enters his third year at the helm and looks to have quite a few new faces in the lineup. Coach Geter has some huge expectations for a team led by Seniors Charles Morgan, Alex Ashley, Jalen Blunt, and Cam Williams. The Capitals are looking to build on a strong 2019-2020 that featured an upset win over #1 ranked and defending state champion, Gray Collegiate. Last season, the Capitals finished the year 12-14 (5-3). Columbia was edged out by Burke in the first round of SCHSL 2A State Playoffs.
Coach Geter’s expectations for this year’s team include winning 15 games and challenging for the region title in the newly aligned Region 3-2A. Columbia will look forward to an extremely difficult schedule that includes the aforementioned Gray Collegiate and new region opponents Newberry, Saluda and Batesburg-Leesville. The non-region schedule does not get any easier for the Capitals as they will again travel to a hostile Chester environment and will also feature a modified Capital City Tipoff Showcase. The three day event (November 23rd, 24th, and 25th) will be a round robin showcase hosted at Columbia. The accepted teams and schedule for the Capital City Tipoff will be announced at a later date.
Coach Geter had this to say about why the students, staff, and alumni can be excited for this year’s team “Columbia High Boys Basketball is on the rise and has some talented players with tons of heart. We have increased our win total from 5 to 12 wins in just two years and will continue to get better.” Geter also added that the defense will be the key to the Capital’s success in 2020-21. When asked for a player to watch, Geter had big praise for Sophomore Marques Smith. Don’t be surprised to see Smith and the Capitals pick up some big wins with high-energy defensive stops this season.
Girls Basketball: For the first time since 1982 Coach Bobby Young will not lead the Lady Capitals into their first game of the season. Coach Young compiled a tremendous record for the Lady Capitals in a career that saw five state championships, but most importantly had a positive impact on more than a generation’s worth of Lady Capital basketball players.
Columbia’s new coach, Candace Bush, will look to add upon a tradition of excellence for the Capitals. Coach Bush comes to Columbia by way of Sanders Middle School where she had an incredibly successful run as both the Girls Basketball Coach and Athletics Coordinator. Coach Bush is excited to get her first look at many of her new players during this first week in November. The Lady Capitals will look to improve on a 7-16 (3-5) record. Columbia lost three games by five points or less last season, a statistic the Capitals will look to reverse in 2020-21.
Fans and alumni should be excited as a new era of Lady Capitals basketball will tip off in 2020-21.
Wrestling: Coach Joe Lovier enters his 13th season as head coach of the Columbia wrestling team. Prior to the pandemic, Coach Lovier was projected to have arguably his best returning team. The Capitals return all but two wrestlers from a year ago and are set up to make some noise state wide. The Capitals return 8 wrestlers that qualified for the 2019-20 SCHSL Individual State Championships, which is more than any other team in 2A. As a team in 2019-2020 the Capitals fell just 9 points shy of a berth in the Lower State Championship match.
Entering 2020-21, Lovier’s Capitals have been tabbed as “Sleepers” for the 2020-21 AA State title. SCMAT columnist M. Murray had great praise for the Capitals as he wrote “If Coach Lovier can get this group rolling, they will be tough to beat.” Columbia returns 46 points from last year’s Individual State Championship. As always, Coach Lovier will have extremely high expectations for this team led by last year’s 106 lb. Fontroy Randolph, 170 lb. Mikale Hare, and 220 lb. Isaiah Black. There should be plenty to cheer for this season as there is no doubt that we will see plenty of wins from the Capitals. There is only one question left……. Is this the best Capitals wrestling team ever?