A handful of first-year coaches embarked on the winter and spring sports seasons full of hope.
Now? They are paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic which has shut down all schools in Baytown and so much of the nation and in turn, their sports campaigns.
Sterling High School’s Archie Wright saw his boys soccer season put on hold and potentially scrapped while they were in the hunt for a playoff spot and Goose Creek Memorial’s Cirby Vest was moving her softball team forward during a rebuild. Also, RSS girls track coach Natasha Fisher was dealt the disappointment of a lost season.
All their goals are now on ice.
“My first year as head coach had its up and downs due to some injuries and sometimes inconsistent play,” Wright said. “But the season has been mostly ups. I’m very proud of what the players were able to accomplish. They were able to learn a brand-new system and style of play and adapt to a new coach.
“Typically, it takes a couple of seasons at least for players to buy in and learn, but the players were able to get over that hump quickly. We were able to achieve things at Sterling that has not happened in 10 years.”
The Rangers took second place in a tournament at Clear Creek and were in fourth place in District 21-6A play (5-7-1) with a playoff spot on the line with one match left to play.
“I feel really bad for the players as all their hard work might not pay off due to the COVID-19 issue,” Wright said. “This is affecting not only their final bid for playoffs, but also their recruiting for college soccer as well. Several coaches were coming to see their final game. So, it has definitely been bittersweet in that regard.”
The Lady Patriots were 4-12 and had dropped a district opener to Robert E. Lee on March 10 and then saw a season where gains were being made, end in a snap.
“This is uncharted territory for everyone and we’re all just taking it one day at a time,” Vest said. “I’m communicating with my players and asking for their patience and faith. While we’re all saddened by the cancellation of the majority of our season, I’m glad that the health and safety of our student athletes takes precedence.
“This isn’t an ideal situation for my first season as a head coach, but it’s a learning experience nonetheless and we have to stay positive, especially when so much is out of our control.
Fisher saw her girls’ promise put on hold.
“They were heading into the right direction,” Fisher said. “Their times were on the come up and into championship season high in the district. My younger athletes have a lot to look forward to next year and we can’t wait.”