Bentonville High School was my first stop in the 2009 MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. Merely entering the enormous school, I immediately felt the radiating school pride from the students, local media and faculty.
The Bentonville Tigers had captured their second state title in school history, the first state title was celebrated in 2001. The team withheld an impressive record of 12-1, tying the 2001 team of 12 wins in a season, ranking Bentonville High School number 58th nationally out of nearly 17,000 high schools in the country!
The excited students filed into the gymnasium as the school band boisterously played in the background. The seniors sat on one side of the bleachers, while the sophomores and juniors piled onto the other side. The center court was surrounded with jumpy cheerleaders and an enthusiastic tiger mascot. Clearly, the pep rally was heavily catered towards the delightfully rowdy seniors. Hanging over the bleacher railings, proudly waving oversized school flags and loudly chanting to the commands of the cheerleaders, we can say that the students of Bentonville High impressed me with their enthusiasm to say the least.
Introduced by Superintendent, Gary Compton, Mayor Bob McCaslin gained attention from the students, acknowledging the school’s impressive 2008-9 athletic accomplishments thus far. Mr. Compton then introduced MaxPreps representative, Jim Redman, who spoke of the team’s impressive skills and dedication on the field. Redman than went on to introduce National Guard, Lt. Col. Troy Galloway who appointed three senior players with commemorative coins that of which exemplified leadership parallel to a member of the Army National Guard. Lastly, Lt. Col. Troy Galloway presented Coach Lunney with the Tour of Champion’s esteemed Minuteman trophy. Coach Lunney graciously accepted the award and proudly held it in air, smiling ear to ear. The crowd then erupted in excitement as the football team surrounded their coach where they all had an opportunity to hold the trophy.
Soon following, the football team gathered in the front of the gym for photos with the trophy and Lt. Col. Troy Galloway. The other attending Guardsmen fed into the rambunctious crowd by throwing the students National Guard t-shirts and small footballs. The afternoon was definitely one to remember for the team, students, media and faculty all together.