THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — It's tough to win a state title and it's harder to win a second. The Thomasville boys soccer team knew the target was on their backs after winning a State Championship last season.
Even though they didn't get to defend that crown, they're happy with everything they were able to accomplish.
The Thomasville boys soccer team looked to close out 2020 exactly how the finished 2019, on top.
"Know that we had a chance and, knowing that, we were working towards something," said Nico Grave de Peralta. "Just for it to end abruptly, it really hurt."
The Bulldogs got nine games in before the COVID-19 pandemic ruined their dreams of a repeat.
"It still stings that we had a chance and we could have gone back-to-back," Grave de Peralta said. "At some point you have to move on."
"I think we were starting to hit our peak," Nik Von Hellens said. "It was really disappointing not being able to defend it, but for the guys that did win it it last year, they still got one. One is better than nothing."
One State title to celebrate and, for the Bulldogs' three seniors, it's the memories they're holding on to.
"For the kids coming up, they definitely want to work hard and win a State Championship, too," said Von Hellens. "For them to see us win it and win lots of games, I think it motivates them to want to work hard and repeat the same."
An example to look up to, Grave de Peralta will play soccer at Georgia Southwestern while Von Hellens, a dual sport standout, is going to play tennis at Georgia.
"It lessens the blow," Von Hellens said. "I'm still getting to play tennis in college. Losing soccer is obviously tough, but I still get to be an athlete. It's a good feeling."
"I was always the first to raise my hand, who wants to play college soccer? That was me," Grave de Peralta said. "Knowing that it's happening, it's surreal."
A surreal future to compliment a surreal ending to their time at Thomasville.
"Just to think what we accomplished," said Von Hellens. "I can't really say it any other way. It was pretty amazing to be here."
As amazing as the memory of being a State Champion.
The Bulldogs third senior, Grant Merschman is headed to Alabama for college.
Von Hellens said he wants to be a physical therapist and Grave de Peralta is going after a business degree.