EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It was not a surprise but not what student-athletes and coaches wanted. The University Interscholastic League announced Friday afternoon that spring sports were canceled.
“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. “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.”
The decision ended seasons for Baseball, softball, golf, soccer, track and the boys basketball tournament.
“If you last high school games was beating Grapeland in the regional final then you had a pretty good career,” Shelbyville head coach David Schmitt said.
Shelbyville was in San Antonio last month preparing for the 2A semifinal when the UIL suspended the tournament.
“It is heartbreaking,” Schmitt said. “Those seniors won their third straight regional tournament.”
Other teams from East Texas were expecting to make runs at state titles. One of those teams was the Chireno softball team. The Lady Owls lost at the state title game last year in a heartbreaking fashion. Giff Durham was hoping to get his seniors to the game one last time.
“It makes me sick for my seniors,” Durham said. “They can’t go back. My underclassman have another chance but it is over for these kids. I understand it has to be safety first and there are people going through a lot worse. There are people losing their life and losing loved ones so I understand we put safety first but it is still hard as a coach.”
West Sabine had three seniors looking to make it to their second-straight tournament.
“All we can do is be ready for next year and never take anything for granted,” Crytal Muncrief said. “When you face adversity you have to push through it and show who you are.”
Lufkin Athletic Director Todd Quick will be working with his coaches on how to get equipment checked back into the school. He is also waiting on word for what happens next.
“It’s a concern because we don’t know,” Quick said. “The NCAA doesn’t even know.” We will follow whatever they do but it is out of our control. We have good people that are making decisions that are best for the kids. We trust them and they are going to make the best decision for us."
Diboll softball coach Hayland Hardy has been recording videos with words of encouragement. He sent another one out today to senior student-athletes who lost their final seasons.
“The difference in a stumbling block and a stepping stone is how you look at it,” Hardy said. “It is all about how you look at it. That is hard right now because right now we cannot see any good out of it. Think about what you are doing. Get on your school work. Don;t let this get in the way of whether you do something right or wrong.”
Further details will be forthcoming. Please continue to check the UIL website and social media accounts for updates.