If you ever need jewelry advice, look no further than four experts at Northwestern High.
Brandon Ashley, Jordan Starkes, Tyler Morgan, and Will Hagood claimed their first state championship rings as members of the 4A title-winning football team in 2015, and the quartet of Trojans claimed their second championship on the baseball diamond with a 5-2 victory over River Bluff May 20.
“It’s such a great opportunity to play with the athletes here in this 2017 class,” Morgan said.
Morgan, who caught the opening touchdown of the football state title game two years ago, takes ring keeping seriously. He has a trophy shelf that they’ll sit on, unless there’s a very special occasion where he’s able to show them off. To keep the jewelry shiny, he’ll grab the finest wax.
Starkes, a junior who accumulated over 1,000 receiving yards as a sophomore on the 2015 championship squad, said he’ll keep his rings in a big ‘ole trophy case. It’ll help him keep his championship memories in touch, like looking into the wild Trojan student section at Williams-Brice Stadium in 2015, or when he prematurely tossed his bat in celebration on a single that he thought was headed over the fence in the third game of this year's baseball championship.
“Coach (Mitch) Walters really laid into me for that one,” Starkes said with a laugh.
Hagood, who played quarterback and third base and is a senior alongside Morgan and Ashley, said he didn't need a trophy shelf or case - his rings' home will be his fingers.
“They're both special. Football, you put in a lot time in and a lot of hard work and it felt good,” Hagood said. “And baseball, we're the first team at Northwestern to do it.”
Both Trojan teams received national recognition, with this year’s baseball squad ranked 18th in the country by MaxPreps. Former running back and catcher Ashley said the championship teams were built on the players' mentality that the team means more than the individual, and their selflessness got the job done.
“I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of two different sports that won rings,” Ashley said. “It's something that I will never forget as long as I live.”