Bryce Thompson, Cole Haile share 2017-18 Lexington Chronicle Male Co-Athlete of the Year Award
Football standout Bryce Thompson of Dutch Fork High School and wrestling champion Cole Haile of Chapin left winning legacies at their respective schools.
For their efforts, the two are this year’s 2017-18 Lexington Chronicle Male Co-Athletes of the Year.
Bryce Thompson (Dutch Fork)
This season was a “Homecoming” for Thompson.
Two years after leaving the Silver Foxes’ program to win a SCISA Class 3A title at Ben Lippen, Thompson returned to a program which has just completed an undefeated championship season in Class 5A.
Once Thompson’s role was defined, Dutch Fork’s road to a second straight title was secure. Playing wide receiver, running back, defensive back and occassionally quarterback, Thompson took the Silver Foxes’ offense to another level.
The numbers (1,369 rushing yards, 29 touchdowns, 44 receptions for 630 yards, 6 TDs; 3 kick return TDs, 27 tackles, an interception and blocked kick) were only part of the story. At one point, Thompson scored three or more touchdowns in eight consecutive games.
Thompson’s presence played a significant role in the Silver Foxes’ 28-27 victory over Dorman in the Class 5A final at Williams-Brice Stadium. Not only did his score two scores, but Cavaliers’ head coach David Gutshall acknowledged his decision to go for the ill-fated 2-point conversion late was based on his concern of Thompson’s effectiveness out of the Wildcat.
Thompson closed out his prep career by catching seven passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in winning team MVP honors for South Carolina at the Shrine Bowl.
Dutch Fork head coach Tom Knotts paid the University of Tennessee-bound Thompson the ultimate compliment.
He is the best I’ve coached in 37 years,” Knotts said. “Bryce can do anything. In addition to his abundance of talent, he has a determination that is unmatched by any player I have ever coached. Everybody says they want to win and got the will to win, Bryce is determined. He is the most determined player I ever coached. He is not going to be denied.”
Cole Haile (Chapin)
At Chapin High School, Cole Haile was a part of region championships in football and wrestling.
It was in the latter sport, which Haile has competed in since he was four years old, where he’s made a name for himself.
Since seventh grade, Haile has helped the Eagles’ program win back-to-back Class 4A Lower State finals and finish state runner-up twice.
Individually, Haile won over 100 career matches and entered his senior year seeking a state title at 220 pounds. After placing previously second and third place, respectively, Haile had a season for the ages - going undefeated at 57-0, setting a school record for career pins and winning the elusive state title.
Haile’s efforts earned him All-Region and All-State honors, as well as National High School Coaches Association All-American honors after placing fifth nationally.
“Cole earned everything with his tremendous work habits,” Wrestling head coach Ken Wilson said.
Haile will continue his career at Newberry College.