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."
Photo by VYPE Media's Bradley Collier.
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."
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HOUSTON - The 2019-2020 high school sports season is officially over.
The University Interscholastic League announced on Friday, following the Governor of Texas Greg Abbott's executive order to close schools for the remainder of the year, that the remainder of athletic events would not be completed.
"Our staff had been working hard on plans to resume activities this spring, but without schools in session, interscholastic activities cannot continue," said UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt in a press release. "Our highest priority during this challenging time is ensuring the health and safety of our students and communities and making progress in the containment of COVID-19 in Texas. We are now turning our attention to the 2020-2021 school year."
Earlier in the day, Abbott issued his executive order.
"The team of doctors advising us have determined that it would be unsafe to allow students to gather at schools for the foreseeable future," Abbott said during his news conference on Friday. "As a result school classrooms are closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year."
According to the UIL Press Release practices, rehearsals, and workouts remain suspended until further notice and their previous information about remote instruction remain in place.
"I am grateful to the UIL staff for their leadership and dedication to students," said UIL Legislative Council Chair Curtis Rhodes. "Together we will get through this and we look forward to the day students are once again able to participate in education-based interscholastic activities."The one sport that had reached the state championship level was boys basketball, which was at the beginning of playing the tournament when things began to be shut down.
No Final Tip-Off for Basketball
Four Houston-area schools had reached the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament, including Dickinson which was playing in its first state tournament since 1955,
"It's just a blow that I really feel bad for them," Dickinson coach Jason Wilson said. "Just words can't describe how bad I feel for them. I saw them this whole year and how they stayed focused on the vision to play for a state championship. Not being able to fulfill that dream and that goal, I'm just speechless."
Currently, the team can't get together due to social distancing policies. With seven seniors on this team - including Guy V. Lewis award winner Tramon Mark - Wilson said he will be working with district officials to be sure to honor that class "in some type of way".
Being one of the final four teams in Texas isn't easy, especially coming out of Houston.
Wilson realizes that, which makes this part harder to swallow knowing what it took to even get to the Alamodome and now he and his team is left with an unfinished feeling.
"A lot of things have to go right in order for you to get there," Wilson said. "You've got thousands of coaches out there with unbelievable careers and the main goal is to get to this point and play for a state championship. I thought we had a really good chance of winning it. Don't know when that opportunity will present itself again, Because Houston basketball is so tough.
"You could be there one year and the next year, there's another upcoming team. I'm just trying to enjoy what I can out of it right now. But it certainly feels unfinished."
Fort Bend Hightower, Stafford and Jack Yates also reached the UIL Boys Basketball State Tournament as well.
Soccer Halted on Verge of Playoff
The next closest sport to the playoffs was soccer. There were only a couple of matches left on the schedule before the playoff slate would have began. Houston had some top teams in the state.
On the boys' side, Alief Elsik, Seven Lakes and Tompkins were the Top 3 for Region III-6A. In Class 5A, Kingwood Park, Sharpstown and Wisdom were the Top 3 for Region III. On the girls' side Kingwood Park was ranked first, while Friendswood and Tomball were ranked third and fourth in Region III-5A. In Class 6A, Tompkins, Kingwood and Ridge Point were the Top 3 for Region III.
No Final Race for the Trackstars
Other sports were just getting going. Track and field had held a few meets with the coveted Texas Relays on the horizon before the shutdown began.
According to Milesplit.com, Fort Bend Marshall and Klein Forest boys track 4x100 and 4x200-meter relay teams owned the fastest times in the country, respectively. The Woodlands' Carter Bajoit owned the best high jump (7-0) and Klein Forest's Maurice Westmoreland had the best discus throw (204-6) in the nation.
On the girl's side, Fort Bend Bush's Laila Owens had the best 400-meter dash time (54.37), Cinco Ranch's Heidi Nielson had the top 1600-meter race time (4:47:90), Cypress Lakes' KeAyla Dove had the best shot put throw (49-5) and Clear Falls had the top 4x400-meter relay time at 3:44.68.
These and numerous other athletes and teams had great shots to shine in Austin during the first weekend of May.
Other spring sports that were cut short included golf, tennis, baseball and softball. This is officially the end of the 2019-2020 season, which means the next athletic event that could happen is volleyball reporting to practice on August 1 and football on August 3.