Patriots receive state championship rings

Published 9:46 pm Friday, August 10, 2018

Pike Liberal Arts welcomed in the 2018 fall sports season with a Meet the Patriots Rally on Friday night. Before the school kicked off the event, the staff and students looked back and honored the baseball team one final time by presenting the players with their Class 3A State Championship rings.

It was a season to remember for coach Allen Ponder and the Patriots. They finished the season with a 35-5 overall record and claimed their second-ever title. They were able to celebrate one final time in front of Patriot nation.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Ponder said. “This is a special time. This is a special night and a good night. Not only do we get to recognize all the athletes of the fall season, but we get to recognize our state champion baseball team one more time.”

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The Patriots have had their share of celebrations since claiming the championship. They had a championship parade shortly after and later in the summer they were named the National Athletic Association of Private Schools Division 3 National Champions. Despite those two celebrations, it was the ring that the team was looking to get more than anything else.

“They have been waiting on them for a while so I know they are excited,” Ponder said. “It’s always exciting to have the parades and to be recognized, but the ring is something totally different. That is something special. That is something they put on every single day and look at it to see what they have accomplished. For them to get those tonight is a very special event.”

Ponder won a few rings throughout his playing career, but as special as this one as a coach.

“I have gotten a few championship rings as a player, but it doesn’t even compare to being a coach,” Ponder said. “As a coach, its not so much about getting your own ring, it’s about seeing these kids get theirs and have the same feelings you had when won those state championships. I am more excited for them tonight than they are.”

Despite all the celebrations, at the conclusion of the ring ceremony it was time to put the wonderful 2018 season in the rearview mirror.

“We are very eager,” Ponder said. “The great thing about it is pretty much everybody that is walking on the field tonight will be back. I think they are hungry, especially after winning it last year. I think they are ready to go out there and do it again.”

Three seniors from last year’s team Reed Jinright, Wood Jinright and Nathan Renfroe were not in attendance Friday night due to playing in the American Legion Southeastern Tournament in Asheboro, North Carolina. The three will be honored during halftime of the Pike Patriots football game next Friday night.