E.A. Sports Today

Ring ’em up

The Pleasant Valley girls cross country team receives its state championship rings in ceremonies in front of the student body

Rachel Faucett displays her three state championship rings, the newest two she received Tuesday.

Rachel Faucett displays her three state championship rings, the newest two she received Tuesday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Julianna Ballew looked down at the ring on the third finger of her left hand and couldn’t look away. She might not take her eyes off it until someone puts another kind of ring on that finger someday.

Ballew was the first to lead the Pleasant Valley girls cross country team across the line at the state championship meet last November and was the first to lead the runners to their reward.

The Lady Raiders took time out from their daily grind Tuesday morning to pick up the rings that commemorate their victory in a ceremony in front of entire student body.

“This is the first time I’ve seen it; I just love it,” Ballew said. “I guess it’s just a summary of everything that I’ve worked for and it’s all right here. It’s great.”

It didn’t take long for the rest of the Lady Raiders to join Ballew at the awards table — just as it didn’t take them long to join each other at the finish line in Moulton.

They placed all five of their runners among the top 21 counters in the race. Although they didn’t put anyone in the overall top 10, all five were in the next 18. They scored 66 points and won by 12.

“It was good for the kids,” coach Brad Hood said of the day’s ceremony. “To me, I’m glad. It’s kind of like closure; now, we can work toward the future and that’s over with.

“The girls are excited because to them it was like we hadn’t felt like we won until we get our rings. That group could do it another year or two.”

They have plenty of fingers.

Pleasant Valley's state champion girls cross country team, along with coaches Brad Hood (L) and Rex McAllister, stand with the sign that will hang in the gym to commemorate their feat. On the cover, the team shows off its championship rings. (Cover photo by Emily Harrell)

Pleasant Valley’s state champion girls cross country team, along with coaches Brad Hood (L) and Rex McAllister, stand with the sign that will hang in the gym to commemorate their feat. On the cover, the team shows off its championship rings. (Cover photo by Emily Harrell)



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