The University Interscholastic League’s announcement last Friday that all remaining spring sports and other ongoing extracurricular activities of the 2019-2020 school year were canceled was heartbreaking for all student-athletes around the state.
Of course, none are feeling more anguish than the Class of 2020.
Many had expected that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to force that decision to be made in the effort to help reduce potential spreading of the virus.
Senior student-athletes making their final appearances in track and field, baseball, softball, tennis, golf, powerlifting and soccer were at the top of the misery index.
Those in track, baseball, softball, tennis and golf still had several events scheduled. The powerlifting season was almost over, and two SHS Honeybees — Arianna Rosati-Floyd and Norma Hernandez — had qualified for the girls Class 4A state powerlifting meet but now won’t be able to compete.
SHS had four boys — Ruben Reyes, Logan Davis, Gabe Juarez and Caleb Smith — who had qualified for the regional powerlifting meet, and their hopes of advancing to their state meet have vanished.
In golf, four-year SHS varsity letterman Alee Mainord won’t get her chance to try for a second straight appearance in the Class 4A girls state tournament.
The SHS girls track team featured two former state qualifiers who were eyeing another possible trip to Austin. They were junior Shayden Toof, a two-time state meet qualifier in triple jump, and sophomore Landri Withers, who competed in the state long jump event as a freshman.
The Honeybee soccer team members had been longing for a chance to win a third state championship in four years — a feat that has never been done in the history of Texas UIL girls soccer. Coach Casey Weil’s Honeybees captured the 2017 state title, and hoped to repeat their 2019 championship this April.
Both the Bees and boys soccer coach Taylor Smith’s Yellow Jackets had only one district game remaining, but had already clinched their respective district titles. The Jackets were also expecting great things in the postseason, one year after their most successful season ever when they reached the 2019 regional final.
SISD Athletic Director Jerod Womack provided the following message for publication in the E-T, about the cancellation of the spring sports seasons, including a special nod to the Class of 2020:
“With the UIL making a decision to cancel all UIL spring sports last Friday we have great sadness for our local athletes at Stephenville High School and Henderson Junior High. With many of our sports teams improving and moving into the meat of their seasons I feel like we had a great opportunity to be successful in many of our spring sports.
“I know many of our coaches have had zoom meetings to wrap up their seasons. Those meetings have been tough on both the athletes and coaches. It is tough on our athletes to not have closure on something they have worked so hard toward for so many years.
“We would have had multiple opportunities this spring season to take many of our athletes and teams to the postseason and state championships. We will forever know in our hearts that these groups and individuals are all champions. We look forward to seeing our underclassman return to our campuses this summer with a focus and dedication to their teammates and coaches.
“We are especially proud of our seniors. This group of seniors is special in so many ways to our town. This group will forever be remembered for your hard work and dedication to our programs. Our coaches, parents, and fans missed an opportunity to see you at your best.
“I know your best will still shine as you leave SISD and become successful citizens of our great country. We know that the lessons you learned through athletics will provide you stability and strength to do great things in life. We look forward to watching each of you thrive as you take lessons of teamwork, dedication, and passion with you. Thank you again to the Class of 2020!”