ALBANY, Ga. -- They may not have gone home with the gold, but there is still something to be said for a job well done.
The literary team at Deerfield-Windsor School recently competed in the Class AAA state literary and music competition at Valdosta State University. The 15 students on the team came out earning the title of first runner-up.
There were 14 events at the competition, with Deerfield's team placing in half of them, including five first-place awards.
One of the events that Deerfield won the top spot in was Boys Quartet. The Deerfield representatives from that event were Lindsey Short, Beau Sinyard, William Ansley and Davidson Goldsmith.
Sinyard, a 12th-grader who is also on the school's tennis team and is involved in spring musicals, was among those who rehearsed for roughly eight weeks, four days a week for 15 minutes at a time -- so the students could participate in other extracurricular commitments -- in order to prepare to go up against some of the state's stiffest competition.
The effort paid off.
"Our jaws dropped," Sinyard said of the moment the results came in. "It was a very exciting experience. We were very shocked, very excited."
It helps that the team seems to work well together.
"We all get along very well," Sinyard said. "We all come from different cliques, but when we get together, we all get along well."
Caroline Davis, an 11th-grader, earned first place in the dramatic interpretation event.
"I've been singing and acting since I could talk," Davis said. "I'd always been interested in doing the literary team, but I had to work up the courage."
Davis, now in her fourth year on the literary team, placed second in her event at the regional competition -- which was held just a couple of weeks before the state competition. She competed in the girls soloist event for three years before switching to drama this year.
"It turned out to be a good choice," she said. "Especially this year, the team has been really close. It's not so much about winning but about doing your best.
"(Participating on the literary team) gives you a feeling of confidence you can't get anywhere else."
Even though it was a few weeks ago, Davis remembers the moment that the results came in -- very well.
"The first thing I did was prepare for the worst," she said. "When the results came in, I had no idea I would get first place. I'm used to my individual event not getting on stage (for the awards ceremony), so when they called my name, it was very exciting."
In all, the team earned 40 points. Mount de Sales Academy in Macon, the state champions, got 44 points.
The fact that a school from Southwest Georgia can do that well says a lot about the academic potential here, Sinyard said.
"Coming from a place like Albany, to go there and do well is amazing," he said.
The members of the literary team are chosen through a series of auditions before the end of the calendar year. Preparations for the regional competition typically begin in January with rehearsals being held in the upper campus' band room.
This year, the group even found itself conducting a few Sunday rehearsals at Deerfield's lower campus.
"We have to work around (the students') schedules," said Dianne Giddens, the team's musical coach.
Giddens seemed just as proud of the outcome as the students did.
"I wish I could've gotten a picture of my face," she said. "I see these kids more than I see my own husband. When these children graduate, it is like my own children graduating."
Lindsey Stewart, an eighth-grade teacher at Deerfield who serves as the team's oral interpretation coach, echoed Giddens' sentiments.
"It was a good year, especially for the seniors," she said. "I'm just so proud of them this year."