Try as they might, Rebekah Madebach and Sarah Madebach couldn't pin down an exact tally, but one thing's for sure - the Augusta Christian Schools seniors have earned enough state championship rings to open their own jewelry store.
"Five or six," Rebekah said. "I'm not sure." Her sister Sarah was just as stumped, asking to herself, "Six?" before settling on "Seven."
The twins have run their way into the Georgia Independent School Association record books in cross country and track, but the most recent state championship ring was special for the University of Georgia signees.
"This was a team thing, and that's most important to me. We all worked really hard for it," Sarah said of the 2003 GISA Class AAA state cross country championship won by the Lady Lions last fall.
The ring presentation ceremony for the eight team members was March 23 in the AC gym, and was conducted on Chapel Day so the entire high school could share in the glory.
The Augusta Christian cross country team members show their rings.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"It was very exciting, and a special day for these young ladies," said Lady Lions coach Beth Harden, who was proudly sporting her championship ring.
Augusta Christian sophomore Sarah Beth McKinney and her ring have been inseparable. "I've worn the ring every single day. This is one of the reasons we wanted to win state."
The Lady Lions all agreed on the ring design, which was the first of its kind made by Jostens School Products.
Helen Cave was thrilled to savor the spoils of victory, especially since she's just an eighth-grader.
"This was a very good opportunity, considering we had the first and second state spots (Rebekah Madebach won the individual title, and Sarah Madebach was runner-up) on our team," Cave said. "Hopefully we'll have a lot of rings in our class (eighth grade) by the time we're seniors, but I knew this chance might not come again."
Along with the Madebachs, Annie Kim helped lead the team to a state cross country crown in 2000, and she says two rings are better than one.
"That's the major thing we thought about the whole season. Our goal was to get another state ring," Kim said. "This ring was really important to me since it was my last season. I'll always look back on this, and when I see this ring I'll remember how special my team was to me, and the impact they had on my life."
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