Bruins have right to kick up their heels

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The Lancaster High School Bruins’ soccer teams are getting it done – on the field and in the classroom.
Recent news about the LHS teams’ (girls and boys) academic success bears out the claim.
The Lady Bruins posted an overall 4.3 GPA (grade-point average) for the 2010-11 school term, while the LHS boys finished with an overall 3.4 GPA.
Obviously, the Bruins’ soccer squads are using their noggins for more than headers.
The success of the teams has been duly noted.
The National High School Soccer Association of America honored the Bruins’ teams with the National Team Academic Award.
“This is a huge honor for our soccer program,” said coach Bo Sylvia, who leads the Lady Bruins and Bruins teams. “To me, this academic award is the highest compliment to our soccer program.
“This is what being here is all about,” Sylvia said. “We stress academics above all else.”
The LHS teams matched their academic success with a solid effort on the field last spring.
The Lady Bruins fashioned a 13-8 record, earned a Class AAAA Upper State playoff berth and won the Cyclone Cup tournament championship in Chester for the third straight season.
The Bruins were 12-9 in a season where the LHS boys made strides in a tough region.
“Our soccer program has made steady strides under coach Sylvia,” LHS athletic director Mark Strickland said. “To have success on the field is a plus, but to excel in class and earn this type of recognition is truly outstanding.”
The honor for both teams is quite a coup since only five high schools in the Palmetto State earned dual honors.
“It again speaks volumes about the commitment our soccer players have for not only athletic excellence, but academic success,” Sylvia said. “Our No. 1 mission is academics. The students want you to push them. One feeds the other.”
LHS Principal Dr. Joe Keenan said he’s proud of the Bruins’ effort.
“Athletics is important and gets a lot of attention, but academics is what school is all about and these students are displaying it in the truest fashion,” Keenan said. “Coach Sylvia is the example of a true teacher and coach.”
Sylvia said he’s blessed to have a coaching staff  that supports the drive for academic success on the boys and girls teams. Those include Ed Humphrey, Robert Fields and Alex Tarque.
Sylvia noted the players’ parents, along with the LHS staff and faculty, also support academic success.
“We couldn’t do it without our faculty and staff,” he said.
Lancaster also has solid leadership. The Lady Bruins’ captains last season included top graduate Sarah DeVenny, along with Morgan Gardner and Sedona Smith. Smith will serve as an LHS captain, along with Ashley Cauthen and Frances Whitesides, for the 2011 team.
The LHS boys captains last season included Matthew Johnston and Kola George, who will lead the Bruins next spring, along with Arnold Roman.
They should all be proud of their teamwork in earning a major achievement.