You can go ahead and cue up Queen’s “We are the Champions.” The University of South Carolina has won the inaugural Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series title after defeating rival Clemson 10-5. The Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series is sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture (SCDA) and is a year-long competition between the two schools in which points are awarded for the winners of head-to-head meetings in each sport as well as a pair of off-the-field competitions.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our student-athletes and fans for how they conducted themselves on and off the field,” said South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner. “Thanks to SCDA, we’ve finally given an official name to this friendly competition, and we’re happy to claim bragging rights this year.”
“We thank the SCDA for helping us kick off this exciting series,” Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich said. “Clemson’s student-athletes and fans enjoyed unprecedented success in several sports this year, and we look forward to taking it to the Gamecocks again starting this fall.” The series fosters lighthearted competition between the two in-state rivals while connecting fans and farmers around local food grown right here in South Carolina.
“We might not all agree on the fields, but there’s one thing USC and Clemson can agree on, and that is what we grow in our fields,” South Carolina Department of Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said. “South Carolina has a rich tradition in both sports and agriculture, and we hope fans will come together and continue to select Certified SC Grown products.”
The trophy adds a dimension to the rivalry that only intensifies it as far as I am concerned.Josh Goffi, Men's Tennis Head Coach
South Carolina won points for victories over Clemson in volleyball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s diving, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s tennis and women’s tennis. South Carolina earned the academic point as Gamecock student-athletes earned a higher combined grade point average than their Clemson counterparts for the fall and spring semesters. South Carolina also earned a point for winning the food drive last November which benefits the Harvest Hope Food Bank as South Carolina fans contributed 135,804 meals, with Clemson fans bringing in 61,250 meals.
“Our team and staff look forward to the Clemson match up every year,” said South Carolina head volleyball coach Scott Swanson. “The pride factor of winning that match up is huge, and this year we were very proud.”
“Winning the Palmetto Series is a huge honor for our athletic department and also for our men’s golf program,” said South Carolina men’s golf coach Bill McDonald. “We take great pride in the fact that the success we had this year in men’s golf contributed to helping our department achieve this goal.” "Beating Clemson is a tradition," added South Carolina head diving coach Todd Sherritt. "We have beaten their diving team for the past 21 years, and it never gets old."
“We had a terrific battle this past year that came down to our senior in a 3-all match,” said South Carolina women’s tennis coach Kevin Epley. “Not only did that win mark my first win against Clemson as a coach, but it also kicked off a string of great wins by the team in the 2016 spring campaign. It’s always great to beat the in-state rival, but obviously this one was extra special.”
The Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series trophy will be presented to Gamecock student-athletes during South Carolina’s first home football game on Saturday, September 17, against East Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium.
“The trophy adds a dimension to the rivalry that only intensifies it as far as I am concerned,” said Gamecock men’s tennis coach Josh Goffi. "It’s currently sitting in its rightful place here in Columbia; capitol of the State of South Carolina and Gamecock Nation!
“We are all in this together. We are the Gamecocks, and they are the Tigers. We play to beat them individually in our respective sports and then collectively as a department. Knowing we get to carry the trophy for a year is an indication that the coaches and athletes are doing a great job not only in the state, but nationally as well.”
The second year of competition in the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series begins early this fall and fans are encourage to mark their calendars as South Carolina men’s soccer hosts Clemson on Friday, August 26, and the Gamecock women’s soccer and volleyball teams both play host to Clemson on Friday, September 2.
For more information about the Certified SC Grown Palmetto Series, visit www.palmettoseries.com.