Today concludes the look back in time to Sumter's outstanding sports programs of the first quarter of the 20th century.
• In February of 1917, the Sumter Tennis Association met at the YMCA and organized for the upcoming season. The club elected S.L. Roddey president, L.C. Bryan, secretary and treasurer, W.M. Levi, C.A. Levi, C.A. Isaacs and W. Green as executive committeemen. A.S. Harby declined to serve again as president.
• On Sept. 6, 1919, in a baseball game filled with errors, Sumter defeated Cheraw in the second game of the series and won the championship of the state in amateur baseball.
• In April of 1920, Sumter competed for the state basketball championship. In the final four contests, game one saw Sumter defeat Hastoc, and in the second contest, Columbia defeated Spartanburg. The following evening saw Hastoc defeat Spartanburg to claim third place, and Sumter fell to Columbia in a closely played contest and finished in second place in the state contest.
• Sumter High School won the 1920 State Title in Track and Field at the University of South Carolina Track. Two records were broken with William Thomas Poole of Greenville bettering the state record in the pole vault with a jump of 10 feet 9 inches to establish a new mark. DeLorme of Sumter bettered his own time of last year in the half-mile run with a time of two minutes and 13 3/5 seconds. Sumter won the contest with a total of 21 points followed by Greenville with 18 points.
• On May 29, 1920, the young men of Sumter were making plans to have a first-rate baseball team this summer. The candidates elected Joe Chandler and Jack Forbes managers with Buck Burns selected as captain of the team. "The prospects for a good team were bright as there were several college stars in town, among them were Crawford (Pat), Spann and Burns. Several of the best college players and the local talent in the state have been contacted, and with four or five out-of-town players in the state, Sumter will have a team this summer of which she may well be proud. The season is expected to open about the first of June."
• The 1920 football season is expected to be a good one with talent like Capt. Buck Burns, Jack Wright, George Wray, Clinton Wheeler, Frank Sholar, "Jumbo" Hatfield and Coit Kirven, all of whom are first string men back from last season. The squad is working hard in practice and will be in good shape to meet Camden in the opening tilt. Coach Dargan has returned to resume his duties.
• Nov. 30, 1920, was the date that saw Sumter's Gamecocks lose to Charleston High School by a 6-0 score, thus failing to advance to the State Title game. It was recorded that Sumter played the hardest game of the season, allowing Charleston to score in the first minute of play in the fourth quarter. Teddie Weeks of Charleston smashed across Sumter's goal for the lone touchdown but failed to kick the extra point (goal). During the entire game, both Sumter and Charleston fought hard for every inch of ground gained. There was not a minute of the game when both sides were not playing as if their lives depended on it.
• In May of 1922, an article appeared in The Sumter Daily Item announcing that "Pat" Crawford of Sumter had been unanimously elected captain of the Davidson College Wildcats 1923 baseball squad. Crawford earned his baseball letter as a freshman playing in the outfield. In his sophomore year, he was moved to fill a vacancy at first base, which position he has held for the past two years. He led his team, accumulating 23 hits for a .374 average. Crawford captained his basketball squad during the last season, leading them through one of the most successful seasons experienced by the college. He also served as the president elect of the campus YMCA.
• Quarterback Jack Wright will lead the 1924 football 11 of University of South Carolina. Wright, a Sumter boy, is a brainy fellow who was "discovered" in the last days of last season by the Carolina coaches. As a star performer, he has rapidly risen to brilliancy and stands an exceptionally excellent chance of holding down the position all season.
• On June 6, 1925, the Sumter "Y" volleyball team retained the State Volleyball Championship for another year, the locals having gone to Columbia on Friday and in a series of contests won decisively from the Columbia players. Charleston, one of the originators of the tournament, Spartanburg and Greenville failed to send teams, as they had promised to do, so Columbia and Sumter players had it all to themselves. Sumter has been state volleyball champion since 1914, winning from all other teams which contested the championship.
Source: Sumter Item Archives
Reach Sumter Item Archivist Sammy Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 774-1294.