Ga. ruling allows SCISA teams to enter 2013 Taco Bell Classic

The 2013 Taco Bell Classic will allow South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA) members to compete in the April 12-13 event, meet management told

"The big thing is the state of Georgia now accepts approved nonmembers," said co-meet director and former Spring Valley coach Kevin Shaw. "SCISA is not a National Federation High School Association member. Since the South Carolina High School League approves nonmembers in good standing, Georgia will OK them to compete."

Porter-Gaud coach Larry Salley, that coaches one of the state's top distance runners (Brent Demarest), said several SCISA coaches have been looking forward to having its members schools compete in the national-caliber meet in Columbia. 

"Many of us in SCISA have wanted to see this for a long time," said Salley. "Although the tape and the stopwatch can be used to compare track athletes in different ways than we have in some other sports, nothing substitutes for putting the best athletes on the same starting line. We’ve been blessed in cross country season to be able to run in most of the big meets like Lake Murray and Lexington, but in track season being closed out of Taco Bell and other similar meets has limited the opportunities for our best athletes to compete against the very best in the state and the region."

Shaw, who now lives and teaches in Boone, N.C., still plays a major role in meet preparation and organization during the two-day event. "I handle all entries and computer work," said Shaw. "Many hours have been put in already and many more to come.  The number of emails from coaches will get very heavy as the meet approaches."

Shaw has been involved with the meet, since its inception in 1991. He added the meet, "has obviously become the major high school in season event in the southeast," in regards to growth. For over 10 years, the Taco Bell Classic has been one of the NSAF Select Meets selected by the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation.  The NSAF hosts New Balance Nationals, indoor and outdoor, the premier postseason high school competitions.

Along with meet management responsibilities, Shaw has produced an indepth meet preview called Shaw's Shakedown. He said this year that may not be possible due to coach and school requirements. "(It takes) more hours than I care to think about," he told "I might not be able to do it this year.  I have many requirements both teaching and coaching in N.C. that make it harder to complete the shakedown each year." 

Salley said that he is unsure if his athletes will be able to compete due to prom, but looks forward to competing in the future. "This has been particularly frustrating the past few years due to the run of bad weather we have had at (SCTCCCA) Coaches Classic.  I can’t say for sure whether all of our kids will be able to compete at Taco Bell this year, as it is our prom night, and many of them had already made plans based on the idea that Taco Bell was not an option.  I can say with certainty that next year we’ll have that date circled on the calendar from the very beginning.  I’d like to thank the folks at SCHSL for going to bat for us."

Registration closes Tuesday, April 9 at 8 p.m. Meet entries (as of 4/3) and link to history on official website. will be onsite starting Friday night of the meet.