Joyce Marie Taylor
Mayo Free Press
Lafayette High School Lady Hornets won the 2011-12 Class 1A Girls Volleyball State Championship on November 16, 2011 with 20 wins and 1 loss. There have been many celebrations to honor them and the latest event was a ring ceremony held in Mayo at the LHS gym on Thurs. March 22, with the entire staff and student body in attendance, along with Superintendent of Schools Tom Lashley.
Once the gym filled up to capacity, LHS Principal Stewart Hancock began the festivities by introducing the team who entered the gym to raucous applause while the powerful Queen tune, “We Are the Champions” blasted over the loudspeakers. Team members include Elizabeth Anderson, Sydney Barry, Bailey Edwards, Danielle Ezell, Darby Guyton, Savanna Hamlin, Lydia Land, Ellen Lashley, Kaleigh Law, Bre Massey, Stacy McClelland, Lindsay O’Steen, Kim Powe and Sydney Shows.
After the noise died down, Superintendent Lashley took the podium, saying that he had been religiously following the volleyball team this year because his daughter was on the team.
“One thing that impressed me about this season was after the first match of the year (which they lost) they got together and didn’t lose another match for the whole rest of the year, so that’s impressive to me,” Lashley said. “I know their work ethic is extremely good and I know they were focused, especially if you watched the playoffs. They came ready for business. After 31 years since the last state championship, this is very special for them. It’s special for Lafayette County Schools.”
Athletic Director Mike Harris spoke next saying how proud he was of the team for the way they represented the school and the community, especially at ‘away games’ in other cities.
“There’s something about championship teams,” Harris said. “They played their best game in the biggest game, and thus, we brought home a state championship. When we played Baker in the finals it was absolutely the best game they played all year and that’s the mark of a championship team.”
Harris went on to praise the team’s head coach, Sonya Land, and assistant coaches Charlie Walker and Nina McGrew.
When Land came to the podium she said the whole experience for her was great and she was happy to be a part of it.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work for these girls and a lot of dedication,” she said.
Principal Hancock then asked everyone to bow their heads as he read the Athlete’s Prayer.
Later, Hancock said, “When I look at the young ladies sitting in front of me, I see girls with vast amounts of talent; talent athletically, academically, girls with leadership skills and high moral character.”
Hancock also praised the girls’ parents for instilling such admirable qualities in their children, all the teachers who have taught the girls since kindergarten, and all the coaches.
“Girls, we are all so proud of you, not only for winning the state championship, but more importantly, for the ladies that you are on a daily basis,” said Hancock.
One by one, each team member came up to receive their championship ring from Coach Land as Hancock read brief biographies on each girl. After the ceremony it was time for families and friends to take photographs of the girls with their new championship rings on their fingers. Congratulations Lady Hornets!