E.A. Sports Today

Here’s to the winners

[corner-ad id=2]White Plains recognizes its first-ever state champions at senior awards assembly

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Every time Raegan Thompson and her White Plains golf teammates walked into the high school gym for classes and games they’d see the blue-and-white banners hanging from the rafters for all manner of sports but never one of their own.

After the history Thompson and her teammates made at the start of the week, there will be a special banner in the gym they will forever be able to point to now and say, “We did that.”

The school recognized the newly crowned state championship-winning girls golf team with two standing ovations during the senior awards assembly Thursday morning. The Wildcats shot rounds of 229 and 241 at Magnolia Grove and beat county rival Alexandria by 17 shots for school’s first state title by any gender in any sport.

“For years we’ve really looked around in this gym and we don’t really have anything, the golf team really doesn’t, and we were going to change that,” said Thompson, the team’s only senior. “Three years ago we decided it was our time to change it, that we were going get as much as we could.

“That’s what coach Harrell always talked about, being the first and leaving that legacy. It’s always going to be in here. It’s always going to be a part of it. We’re always going to be the first.”

The team was recognized by the Calhoun County School Board later Thursday afternoon and several other recognitions are planned.

“The celebration’s definitely not over,” coach Marcus Harrell said.

After the assembly, in which White Plains seniors received more than $1.4 million worth of scholarships, Harrell and principal Andy Ward started scouting locations in the gym to properly memorialize the feat.

There also was talk of rings being designed, in time to present at the first home football game.

“We’ve got to make it big, too,” Ward said of the display. “You look around at all the banners, you see a lot that we’ve done in the past. One thing that’s missing, though, is a state championship — and the school has been here a long time — but that’s no longer.”

Three weeks ago, the student body gathered in the same place to mourn the loss and celebrate the life of Keaten Beam, the teammate they lost in a car crash. On Thursday it was the scene of a celebration of victory Beam’s spirit inspired.

“It’s such a blessing to be able to be here at this amazing school and to have them recognize us for what we’ve done,” junior Layne Dyar said. “The school’s had our back this entire time … I’m really glad we could bring this back for them. We needed it and we brought it home for them.”

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