The state championship.
It should be the goal of every high school athletic team, no matter how small the school or how remote the possibility of achieving that lofty goal.
Yes, we must realize only one team in each class will win the title. But as Lee Trevino once said about golf tournaments, "Somebody's got to win, so it might as well be me.''
With three sports remaining to crown their champions-baseball, softball and track -four Mid-Ohio Valley teams already have claimed state titles since the school year began last August.
Two of those titles came in high profile sports. First was Wahama's Class A football title, which couldn't have happened in more dramatic fashion.
Trailing Madonna 42-41 in overtime, the White Falcons could have sent the game into another extra period by kicking the extra point.
But coach Ed Cromley decided to go for two. The Falcons either would claim the first state football title in school history or suffer a heartbreaking defeat, not to mention a lot of second-guessing. Quarterback Trenton Gibbs took the snap from center, kept the ball and didn't stop running until he crossed the goal line, setting off a wild celebration.
Then came the state girls basketball tournament. Parkersburg South, with just two seniors on the roster, hardly was in the conversation. But somebody forgot to tell coach Scott Stephens and his young band of upstarts as the Patriots won their third state title in eight seasons, dominating Logan in the championship game.
The first area team to capture a championship this school year was the Roane County golf squad, which rode the play of medalist Alston Spears to the Class AA championship.
That was one of two fall crowns won by Mid-Ohio Valley teams as Williamstown claimed the Class A volleyball championship, defeating Tyler Consolidated in an all-Little Kanawha Conference final.
Speaking of Williamstown, the Yellowjackets are on the verge of becoming the first local school to win multiple state titles this school year. One look at the top performers at this year's Class A state girls track meet reveals the Yellowjackets are a virtual lock for a three-peat.
In boys track, both Ritchie County in Class AA and Doddridge County in Class A will be contending for their second straight championships Friday and Saturday in Charleston.
Next Wednesday and Thursday, the epicenter of state sports will switch to Vienna, where 12 teams will compete for the three state softball titles. As always, Ritchie County is one of the teams to beat in Class AA, while St. Marys has a fighting chance in the small school division.
Finally, Appalachian Power Park will be the scene of the last state titles to be decided, the baseball championships. Parkersburg South is in the hunt in Class AAA while several local Class A squads -particularly Magnolia -can't be counted out.