The longest wait of the year ended for Princeton’s state championship-winning volleyball team recently. The Bulldogs received their 2014 NCHSAA 1A state championship rings during a ceremony at the school.
The Bulldogs received their rings during a public ceremony, then gathered with just their parents and coaches for a post-ceremony reception.
“We wanted a chance for the community to be involved with because they were such a part of this team, but also to have something that was just for the team,” said Princeton coach Paige Renfrow.
The Princeton players were kept in the dark on the ring design process, prompting text after text and question after question for Renfrow and others involved in the decision-making process.
Renfrow said she worked with Wooten, Princeton principal Kirk Denning and athletic director Marty Gurganus to come up with the ring. They looked at many options, including the Princeton baseball team’s 2007 state championship rings.
“We wanted something that looked like a championship ring, not dainty, but nothing as big as the baseball ring either,” Renfrow said. “That just wasn’t us.”
The result: a silver/white gold toned ring featuring a large ‘P’ centered in a blue stone, with state champions and four small stones ringing the large blue stone.
One side features a volleyball motif, the other the “Bulldogs” nickname, the state outline of North Carolina and “2014.” below.
“It’s very exciting to finally get these because it feels like we’ve been waiting for so long,” said senior co-captain and state championship game MVP Charley Cox said. “I look at it and I just get chills.”
“They’re perfect,” said Taylor Carroll. “It’s a symbol of an accomplishment that was a huge part of my life and I’ll never forget this team.”
Added Hailey Wood: “I had no idea what it would be, but I’ve very pleased.”
In between photos with family, teammates and friends, there were constant glances of their fingers and the new bling.
“I just think about how much fun we had working our butts off to achieve this,” said Hailey Wood. “”I’ll wear it to school and everywhere.”
Rings also went to coaches and team managers. Among that group was longtime assistant and former head coach Paula Wooten.
“Getting this ring is just the icing on the cake to a great year,” Wooten said. “We tried to prepare the kids since they got out of the eighth grade to do something special. They’re seniors now and you look at them, you look at this ring and realize what a special group it is.”