A tough decision was made to cancel spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic that is swiftly shutting down the nation.
The Coronavirus is changing life as we know it. Students have been sent home, businesses have been closed, people have lost jobs, and sports have been put to a halt. Maryville College was no exception. On March 13, 2020, Athletic Director Kandis Schram and Associate Athletic Director Sara Quatrocky hosted spring athletes and coaches in the Orange Room and informed them that their seasons had been cancelled.
“I’ve been an administrator in college athletics for 18 years, and this was by far one of the worst days of my career,” Quatrocky said. “My heart hurt for them, and I had a great deal of empathy for the loss that they suffered.”
Shutting down spring sports was ultimately the correct decision to make, but that does not ease the pain and sorrow that these athletes are facing. Many teams were beginning to catch fire and get in a groove, right before conference time.
The MC men’s tennis team was winless last season. Last year was more about development and performance than it was about raking in victories. Coming into this season, the Scots were yearning to build off of that by showcasing their experience and improvement.
“We have several new athletes that are exciting to watch play,” Co-Head Coach Millicent Dunn said. “We were also excited to see our returners hit the courts and watch how they have improved as well.”
At the time of cancellation, The Scots were sporting a 1-2 record. Their lone victory was a 6-3 win over Johnson University during the fall semester.
The MC women’s tennis team was projected to finish fourth in the USA South West Division this season. The women’s team made their first trip to the USA South tournament last year.
“I was really looking forward to this season. Things were looking good this year for the women’s team,” said junior Kayla Zimmerman. “Everything that has happened has felt surreal, but I want to use this time to really work towards my performance next year. It’ll be my last one, so I’ve got to make it count.”
The women’s team ended this year with a 2-1 record. Both teams did not really get the opportunity to take the court this spring. However, both squads will be motivated and prepared when next season rolls around.
The MC women’s golf team came into the spring season projected to finish fourth in the USA South preseason poll. The women finished their lone invitational of the spring year—the Pfeiffer Invitational—in fourth place.
“The women’s team played great this fall,” said Head Coach Anthony Monaco. “We ended up breaking seven school records and had a pair of nice finishes.”
Sophomore Bailee Powell and Juniors Kaitlyn Witucki and McCall Smallwood all had excellent individual performances during the tournament. These three and the rest of the women were making great strides of improvement and were only going to get better.
The men’s golf team had a very rocky fall season that was filled with plenty of ups and downs. Monaco’s team was very young despite having three seniors on the roster—June Suganuma, Zach Cardwell and Garrett Compliment.
“We finally started to turn our season around and began to perform at the level that we knew we were capable of,” said sophomore Jay Burgin. “It was a very tough pill to swallow knowing that we started to turn it around, and now our season is over.”
The MC golf teams were eager to reach their potential. On both squads, team and individual play was beginning to amp up.
“I was really looking forward to the conference tournament for both the men and women,” Monaco said. “But right now staying safe is what’s important.”
The MC softball team was performing out of this world before the premature end to their season. The Scots were riding a six game win streak heading into conference play and had consistently solid performances on both offense and defense.
Senior Ashton Hayden and head coach Leah Kelley are all smiles on the diamond.
Photo courtesy of Maryville College Communications.
“This team is a very special group full of hardworking and talented people,” said sophomore Amaya Goodloe. “Our season was cut short before we were even able to meet our full potential, but I’m proud to be a part of this team and of what we accomplished this season.”
For the first time in program history, the Scots finished a season ranked by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. The NFCA ranked the Scots as the 25th best Division III softball team in the nation. The Scots also finished the year with a .396 batting average which was seventh best in the nation. The team’s five seniors—Ashton Hayden, Christina White, Allison Botts, Reid Ballard and Morgan Brewer—were very influential in this historic season.
“The current seniors have had a huge impact on me personally on and off the field. I’m grateful for them,” said Goodloe. “They are some of my closest friends, and I’m going to miss seeing them around campus and playing on the field together. I’m thankful that our team was led by a great senior class who invested so much into the program.”
The MC baseball team was having a surreal season. The team was catching fire right on time. Early on, the Scots were building chemistry and adjusting to a new coaching staff, hence the five losses. However, the team started clicking and was riding a nine game winning streak until their season was canned.
Seniors Drew Johnson (24) and Jordan Davis (38) warm up before the defense takes the field.
Photo courtesy of Maryville College Communications.
“We were doing some unreal stuff offensively and had no signs of slowing down,” Assistant Coach TJ Wharton said. “We were on course to break some records.”
Senior Alden Wright was the Division III leader in RBIs. Senior Derek Hurt finished first in the nation in HBP. Senior Jordan Davis ended the year with the third most strikeouts in the nation. The team ended the year with a record of 14-5 (6-3), and the Scots were poised to make a deep run in the conference tournament.
“We all want to be on the field, but when it comes to a life or death situation, sports have to take a backseat,” Wharton said. “ This team meant the world to me and even with an abrupt end, they’ll all still mean the world to me.”
Sports play a vital role in the lives of many people. It’s more than a game. People invest so much of their time, blood, sweat and tears into their sport. Sports also provide many life lessons. In every sport there will be adversity, and every athlete will have to overcome it in order to be successful.
“We are all in this together. We are all Scots. We are strong. We will come back even stronger,” Quatrocky said.
This is a very trying time in our country right now. This is something that many of us have never experienced before. Together we will get through it.