Spoils of victory

Published 6:17 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

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AHOSKIE – To the victor belong the spoils.

That saying, first used in 1832, simply means that the person or group who wins or succeeds beyond all others is entitled to the benefits or rewards associated with that success.

As an example, see the eight young ladies, along with their veteran coach, who comprised the 2023 tennis team at Ridgecroft School that won the NCISAA Class 1A Dual Team Tennis Championship.

The team was recognized at halftime of the Ridgecroft varsity boys basketball game on Tuesday night where they were each awarded a state championship ring.

Shown here is a close-up view of the rings, which were awarded to the tennis team courtesy of the Ridgecroft Athletic Association. Photo by William Anthony

The rings, courtesy of the Ridgecroft Athletic Association, were presented to Belle Turner, Karley Jo Rose, Sydney Jones, Elizabeth Brown, Avery Byrum, Annie Batts, Kate Chamblee, Molly Brown, and coach Elton Winslow.

“This is a special night for these young ladies,” said Winslow. “On Oct. 28, 2023 they did something that’s never been done in the history of Ridgecroft School, win a state tennis championship.

“Preparation leads to confidence, and confidence leads to execution under pressure,” Winslow continued. “They did indeed execute under pressure, something I’m extremely proud of and something they should be proud of.”

Winslow noted that while the team carried a #1 ranking throughout the year, that fact added even more pressure to succeed.

“We were the hunted; we got everybody’s best shot,” he stressed, “but even though these girls had that target on their backs they came out on top

“We have probably have two of the best players in the entire state in Belle Tutner and Kate Chamblee, but you can’t win a state championship with just two great players,” Winslow added. “It took the whole team to make it happen. Everyone contributed when someone was out or hurt. The next player stepped up. They played well and no stage was too big for them.

“It was a magnificent moment when we won the state championship that day, something I’ll never forget and hopefully something they can always be proud of. They represented themselves and this school very well,” Winslow concluded.

During the 2023 season, Ridgecroft lost only one non-conference match against Class 2A Rocky Mount Academy. Two months and 10 wins later, the Lady Rams stood at the top of the tennis world as they defeated Cape Fear Christian Academy at the North Carolina Wesleyan College courts to win the 2023 NCISAA Class 1A title.

Along the way, Ridgecroft posted a perfect 6-0 regular season record in the Tarheel Independent Conference. They continued that dominance by winning the league’s tournament championship held at the Rose Family Tennis Courts on the campus of Chowan University.

During the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the TIC tournament, Turner was named All-Conference as well as the league’s Player of the Year. Chamblee was also named All-Conference.


About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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