By Doug Gorman
Many high school athletes go through their entire career without the thrill of winning a state championship.
This year at Mt. Vernon Christian School, the Lady Crusaders loaded up on state titles, winning three crowns in girls' sports.
The Georgia Christian Athletic Association member school took state titles in volleyball, basketball and most recently, softball.
For athletic director C.E. Rhoades, watching the Lady Crusaders win the three state titles was a great deal of fun.
"I never dreamed we would win three titles," said Rhoades, who has won state titles of his own as the team's successful football coach.
"It was a team effort. Everybody contributed."
The Lady Crusaders entered the school year with a rich history in all three sports, but it was the state title in high school basketball which was perhaps the most impressive.
Mt. Vernon knocked off three-time defending GCAA state champion Hebron 40-36.
Hebron beat Mt. Vernon twice in the regular season, and was the favorite to win the title game, but Mt. Vernon head coach Dewy Estes came up with the perfect strategy to beat the defending state champs.
The strategy worked and with its victory, Mt. Vernon ended Hebron's 70-game winning streak.
"Coach Estes came up with a great game plan in the championship, said Rhoades. "We did a great job of taking over the boards.
In volleyball and softball, Mt. Vernon dominance continued as the squads won their third straight titles in each sport.
Angela Fisher took over as head coach of the volleyball team picked up where the squad left off last year.
In softball, the Lady Crusaders also played Hebron for the title, winning twice and losing once in the best-of-three series.
Coach C.E. Rhoades and Jody Bailey served as coaches of the squad.
It was Bailey's daughters, Samantha and Jessie, who helped pace the team to the victory and were named co-MVPs.
Jessie Bailey picked up the wins from the mound and Samantha was the offensive catalyst, hitting nearly .900 in the playoff series.
The softball team hasn't lost a regular-season game in three years.
In volleyball and basketball, Rebecca Little and Samantha Bailey were named to the GCAA all-state team.
Jessie Bailey was the MVP of the state basketball tournament.