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Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier.
Spring semester of senior year is supposed to be full of excitement and joy, but the Class of 2020 is faced with a radically different experience. It started with the postponement of in-school studies, sports, and activities like prom and the signing of yearbooks, but that changed to permanent cancellations on Friday. First, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that in-state schools would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year. Then, hours later, TAPPS and UIL cancelled their remaining competitions for the same time frame.
The day's news hit close to home for Central Texas senior athletes because the Texas state government and University Interscholastic League are both based in Austin, especially those that didn't get to finish their final high school sports seasons. This came at the worst time for competitors like Lockhart pitcher and first baseman Logan Hersom, who needed every workout session, practice and event to achieve new career goals before graduation.
"When I first heard the news about the season actually ending, it was heartbreaking," said Hersom. "I had so much planned out this year and too much to accomplish this senior year."
While the 2020 baseball season was in limbo, the Coastal Bend College commit was working towards his season aspirations and staying on track for his collegiate career.
"Every day, I'll run a mile then go throw the ball with my brothers for a bit outside to keep the flow going," he said. "I don't regret none of it because I still need that work for the next level."
High school sports reign supreme in one-high school towns like Lockhart, Lexington and Elgin. These types of communities schedule their lives around their local teams and athletes, but COVID-19 didn't allow them to show their full support at late season games and senior night celebrations in 2020.
"Even though things ended way before I expected them to, I'll forever be thankful for this school and my coaches," said Lexington pitcher/infielder and 2020 Sam Houston State signee Kylie Hobbs. "Lexington athletics will always have a piece of my heart."
Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier.
The 2020 softball season may have been a short one, but that didn't prevent Hobbs from experiencing an opportunity that was a long time coming.
"My sister [Kinsey] was also a freshman this year and I've been looking forward to getting the chance to play on the same team as her since I started high school," she said. "She's a beast, so having her out there with me was super cool."
Not far away in Elgin, an exciting new era was beginning. The town experienced a homecoming when alum Adam Adams took over as the high school's head softball coach before the 2020 season. Senior shortstop and Nicholls State commit Kiana Gibson liked the start of his tenure.
"Elgin softball got a new coaching staff this year and I enjoyed playing with a new dynamic this year," said Gibson.
Even though Gibson's partnership with Adams didn't last long, she has more softball to look forward to in her career.
"I can't wait to play for Nicholls State softball," she said. "I have dreamed of college ball since I was a little girl. I am going to be so excited to be a part of my family and to have a home away from home when I move to Louisiana. Getting to play with them is going to be a blast."
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Friday April 17th was supposed to feature a lineup of high school spring sports. Instead, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that in-state schools would remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 academic year and, within hours, TAPPS and UIL cancelled their remaining competitions for the same time frame.
Those announcements seemed inevitable the longer people were social distancing, but that didn't prevent high school seniors and their support groups from being disappointed. Hondo second baseman Aaron San Miguel was one of the athletes that felt like that.
"I was devastated when I heard the schools got shut down," said San Miguel. "Just the fact that we [in the] Class of 2020 have been working so hard just to experience these last moments of high school."
The 2020 Concordia University Texas baseball commit, like many seniors this spring, was using his extra time over the past month to sharpen his skills in the slight chance that he and his teammates would be able to finish the 2020 season.
"During quarantine, I've been doing a lot of home workouts and hitting into a Bownet," he said. "Looking back on it, every second was worth it and I even wish I would've done a little extra."
Even with a short final high school spring sports season, San Miguel did make the most of his senior year. He had another role for Hondo athletics and had a collegiate career to prepare for.
"As a senior, I also played basketball and I'm proud to say that I tried my hardest and always left everything out on the court [and] field for my team," he said. "For college, I am looking forward to playing baseball with a group of very talented baseball players and can't wait to get on the field and compete with them."
Another program that was affected was San Antonio Taft baseball. It featured a group of 11 seniors that played four high school seasons together.
"I was very shocked at first because as a team, we had no idea it was our last game," Taft senior catcher and 2020 St. Mary's University signee Devin Goins said. "It's just sad knowing that I won't be able to go out there one last time with my teammates."
For the past month, Goins prepared for a possible return to high school action. That didn't occur, but all the work he put in has pushed him towards his collegiate career.
"Ever since the season was first postponed, I have been hitting and throwing four to five times a week in hope of returning before the school year ends," he said. "Now that the season has ended indefinitely, I continue to hit, throw, lift weight in my garage and run in hope of having a summer season soon and get ready for college."
Like many athletes, Goins expects an adjustment to the college game. The extended break also forces him and other 2020 recruits to jump a never-before-seen hurdle.
"I'm looking forward to playing at the next level and will continue to work hard each and every day," he said. "When I join St. Mary's this next season, I expect to have a bit of nostalgia, being that the last time I got to practice with a team was with my high school, but I will be very excited to be back on the field."
For more sports coverage, follow Thomas (@Texan8thGen) and VYPE (@VYPESATX) on Twitter.