05/19/09 — WCDS recognized as National Champions

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WCDS recognized as National Champions

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 19, 2009 1:46 PM

Bridgette Briggs searched for a quiet spot.

The Wayne Country Day senior settled into a chair, pulled out her cell phone and sent a quick text message to a friend.

While she waited for the response, Briggs held up her hand toward the light. She turned her hand in different directions as the shiny momento glistened, bringing a huge smile to her face.

The ring was finally here.

Three months after claiming the school's first-ever state crown in girls' basketball, Briggs and her teammates received their rings during a season-ending awards ceremony Monday evening. Second-year Chargers head coach Eric Perry designed the rings, which included a bright blue stone in the center.

"It's such a big accomplishment and I'm proud of everyone on the team," said Briggs.

That wasn't all.

Chargers athletics director Michael Taylor officially announced the team had earned the 2008-09 National Private School Athletic Association Division IV national championship. The organization recognized the Class 1-A champions for their achievement, hard work, dedication and character.

"At first, I had no idea what this was all about," said Taylor. "After a few phone calls, I realized it was something big. Whoever thought a national championship would come out of this (season)?

"Now we have two new banners to hang in our gym."

Briggs and fellow senior Brooke Norris said the team returned to practice more focused after a regular-season loss to Trinity Christian. Perry and assistant coach Tyler Fike encouraged them to learn from the loss, work hard and concentrate on the next task.

"Trinity was the team to beat and it didn't go our way," said Norris. "We realized that we could lose easily after being undefeated until then. We got more focused, especially on team trips to games and team meetings.

"We learned not to get on each other as much and put everything behind us that had been a problem before ... little petty stuff. We all had the same goal."

Wayne Country Day compiled a 27-1 record, repeated as the Coastal Plains Independent Conference regular-season and tournament queen and won every state playoff contest by double digits.

The Chargers seized two victories against 2008 champion Trinity Christian of Fayetteville and easily defeated 2008 runner-up Word of God in the final. WCDS collected its seventh state title in a girls' sport and just the 11th overall in program history.

All those accomplishments impressed the NPSAA. The 40-member committee crunched the data and awarded the team the national title for their division.

"The national title really hasn't sunk in," said Perry. "I asked the guy 'who we play for it?' and he said 'your season speaks for itself,' so we'll definitely take it. It's exciting to see the girls' reaction and it's because of them we're able to get the (championship) rings.

"A lot of times in coaching, the coach thinks they are bigger than the team, but ultimately, it's the girls who made more sacrifices than myself."

Sacrifices which led to an unforgettable season.