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First-time titles the sweetest

Mill Creek High School is just four years old, but it has packed a good deal of success into that short time.

The fastpitch softball and girls basketball teams have been among the state's elite. The football program already has earned a playoff berth in the state's largest classification. The baseball team is becoming a state-tournament regular.

But what the school didn't have was a coveted Georgia High School Association state championship trophy. Now it does.

The Mill Creek girls golf team brought home a nice silver cup from Jekyll Island that will be displayed prominently in the trophy case. Given the Hoschton school's athletic potential, it will eventually be surrounded by other state title trophies.

However, no other team can say what this year's Mill Creek girls golfers can - they won state first.

"I thought about that before the tournament," Mill Creek golf coach Ben Hanes said of winning the school's first GHSA state title. "But I didn't want to say anything to jinx us. It is nice to be the first though."

Those are the state titles that always feel the best.

The emotion of winning the title is only intensified by knowing that you didn't just win state, you went down in history as the school's first-ever champion. Even for powerhouse schools that have racked up state titles, being the first team in a certain sport to win state also brings that unique feeling.

Wesleyan, Brookwood and Buford are no stranger to team state titles, but each school had a first-time team champion in a sport this school year - Wesleyan in boys basketball, Brookwood in boys swimming and diving and Buford in softball.

This spring may see a few more first-time champions.

Collins Hill has never won a boys soccer title, but the Eagles are in Friday's final at Walton. Three tennis teams in Friday's state finals have never won state. And Wesleyan is among the favorites to win its first state baseball title.

When and if any of those first-time championship victories happen, it will bring an amazing sense of satisfaction and emotion. Not just for winning, but for being the first.

Will Hammock can be reached via e-mail at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursdays.

SideBar: The first time

Mill Creek's girls golf team became the school's first GHSA team state champion earlier this week. Here's a look at each Gwinnett school's first GHSA team state champion:

School

First state champion team

Berkmar

2000 boys basketball

Brookwood

1983 girls cross country

Buford

1964 boys track

Central

1962 boys basketball

Collins Hill

2000 boys cross country

Dacula

1938 boys basketball

Duluth

1951 baseball

GAC

1971 boys basketball

Grayson

2002 softball

Meadowcreek

1993 softball

Mill Creek

2008 girls golf

Norcross

1963 baseball

North

1985 softball

Parkview

1980 girls tennis

P'tree Ridge

2005 cheerleading

Providence

1999 girls soccer

Shiloh

1986 boys cross country

South

1989 girls tennis

Wesleyan

2001 girls tennis