While some of the Cottage Grove football championship rings will be put on display, some are destined for a less prominent placement.
“I have this Nike shoebox and it has all my awards in it from high school and I believe it will go in the ring holder in the box in my closet,” said senior Nate Farrell.
Regardless of where the rings will end up, it was a celebration on Tuesday night as the 2017 4A football champions received their championship rings – that they purchased – in the Cottage Grove High School cafeteria in front of over 150 family, friends and community members cheering in the audience.
“There are a lot of great people in this town. It’s one of the reasons why this thing has been so special is because of the support – the people that have supported us,” said head coach Gary Roberts. “And hopefully it will continue and hopefully we’ll get groups of kids that want to emulate the kids that are here now. It’s been fun.”
Roberts led the ceremony on Tuesday night with an introduction. A championship game highlight video was played and he then handed out rings to each member of the team. Bohemia Mining Days festival coordinator Cindy Weeldreyer also came to the podium where she announced that after the team did not receive a parade, that the championship team will be the grand marshals of this year’s Grand Miners Parade on July 21.
“The whole community is very proud of what y’all have accomplished. The first football championship in school history, I mean that is so amazing. And at Bohemia Mining Days, we’re all about history, that’s what we do,” she said before making the announcement. The rings themselves – that were $175 and paid for by the families – were designed by the seniors of the team and were inspired by past championship rings from Sheldon and Marist.
“They gave us ideas because we had no idea,” said Farrell.
From color schemes, to wording, to logos, the seniors labored over the finer details until they were able to come up with the ring that they could agree on. The rings feature 4A state champions on the front, the individuals last name and number on the side and a lion on the other side.
As the players returned to their seats after they were called and examined their rings, their eyes got big as they took in their newest, or in most cases only, piece of jewelry.
“Just to hear the murmurs as they were opening the boxes the 'Ohhh.' Because I didn’t let them see it. I didn’t let any of the kids see them before they were done. When I got the box I told the kids I got the rings and not one of you is going to look at them until Tuesday night,” said Roberts.
For Roberts, as much as the rings are about the undefeated season and championship run that brought the ring, it is also about what preceded it.
“I think about this team but I also think about the teams from the past. Both the really good teams and the teams that struggled. Because they all worked hard and they all did their best. They all put the time in to get us to this point,” he said.