Athlete of the Fall: Youth is served for Rogers, Berkey

The fall sports season featured a youth movement on the Grand Strand, and the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Season voting certainly bears that out.

Socastee freshman volleyball player Dale Rogers edged Myrtle Beach sophomore tennis player Rachel Berkey for the honor in fan voting, and it was close. Rogers received 5,580 votes to 4,825 for Berkey, but are coming off deserving seasons.

Rogers made a smooth transition to varsity volleyball, helping the Lady Braves on both lines as they finished second in the region to Class 3A state champion Myrtle Beach. Her progress gives Socastee hope for bigger things for the future of the volleyball program.

Berkey played No. 1 doubles and No. 2 singles for the Lady Seahawks, who advanced to the Lower State championship before falling to eventual Class 3A state champion Hilton Head. Berkey and all her teammates return next season looking to take the next step.

But the third-place finisher in the voting (and some would argue the most deserving candidate) was North Myrtle Beach senior Taylor Allman, who led the Lady Chiefs to the state volleyball championship and was named the MVP. She beats out Carolina Forest swimmer Brianna Strang as female athletes swept the top four positions and seniors swept the next four spots.

Myrtle Beach wide receiver and defensive back Trell Harrell, who had 14 touchdowns and three interceptions for the 10-2 Seahawks, rounded out the top five. Fellow football star Tommy Lazaroff, a running back for 11-1 Socastee, helped the Braves to their best season in school history with a trip to the Lower State semifinals.

Socastee sophomore tennis star Rachel Gresko, the Lady Braves’ No. 1 singles and doubles player, led her team to a one-loss season. She tied North Myrtle Beach volleyball junior Ellen Johnson, Lady Chiefs eighth-grade golf prodigy Madison Elliott and St. James running back/linebacker Austin Adams for seventh, followed by Carolina Forest sophomore cross country runner and state qualifier Lisa Pieterse.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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