TEXARKANA, Texas Texas High's girls track and field team were unbeaten in meets when the University Interscholastic League suspended all athletic competitions due to the COVID-19 virus.
On March 13, the UIL suspended all contests in the state, three days later it announced all contests, rehearsals, practices and workouts were suspended through March 29. And last week, it extended those suspensions until further notice, adding that the earliest games and contests may resume would be Monday, May 4.
The Arkansas Activities Association announced the state-wide Dead Period (no competitions, no use of school facility, no contact between coaches and student athletes) has been extended through April 17 in Arkansas.
The Lady Tigers won all four meets they competed in this spring, winning at Marshall to start the season, claiming the Paul Parr Relays at Liberty-Eylau, winning their own Watty Myers Relays championship and then taking the girls' Tiger Relays title in Mount Pleasant, the day before competition was suspended.
"We had just started to jell real well; we had gotten our basketball players out and was just finding what the best combinations were (with the relays)," said veteran THS head girls coach Pat Daniels, who has coached track and field, as well as cross country, for 38 years.
Texas High's girls, like every local and regional sports teams, are hoping to just finish the season, especially for the seniors.
"We have some seniors I really hate this happened to," Daniels said. "They weren't able to complete their season, fully. I hate it for all of them, but especially our seniors. With the decision coming later, as far as high school goes, they might not get to compete again."
Kahliyah Anderson is of the seniors for the Tigers who, after joining the team once the basketball playoffs were complete, was a consistent medalist in the 200 meters and high jump.
Valeria Perez consistently placed in the 800 meters, along with Fezeka Barnes, who also was a contender in the 400.
Bobbi Hatchett, Cashlin Gooden and Faith Bellamy all finished in the top 6 at the Tiger Relays, and Bellamy also placed in the top 3 in the 300 hurdles.
"When the first announcement came, the girls were scared their season might be over," Daniels said. "At that point, there was so much uncertainty, that we thought it might just be two weeks. Now, I don't know if we'll have a rest of the season since everything is postponed until May 4."
Quartney Walker is another senior, who was expected to contribute for the Tigers, the relays were often comprised of Daja Dade, Vanessa and Valeria Perez, Daniyah and Kahliyah Anderson, Barnes and Mariza Paez.
Paez also competed in the discus with Tramecia Batton, who also threw the shot put. Ashlyn Stiger long and triple jumped for THS, and Daniyah Anderson was a 100-meter runner.
"We were still young, but we had some good senior leadership," Daniels said. "All these girls showed up their first day ready to work. It's going to be interesting to see what portion of the season we can salvage.
"When the suspension came, we were two weeks away from district. And we usually have district, area and regional meets before state. May 4 is getting-ready-for-state time in the calendar."
Daniels mentioned that around 10 years ago, due to a wide-spread illness, the state meet was held at the end of May.
"They just kept pushing the deadlines back," Daniels said. "But we were at least in school then. We're not in school, the kids can't practice at the school, so it's really limiting us.
"There's a good possibility, even though they can't go work out as a team, that those who were really serious about it and had the chance to go further are still working out, hoping that we'll be able to come back and finish our season."