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Fall sports cancellation leaves players, coaches ‘devastated’

Clark County School District dealt high school sports its latest blow Jan. 22 when it announced the fall season has been canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Football, boys and girls cross-country, soccer and tennis, and girls golf and volleyball, which were all scheduled to play a shortened season from March 5 to April 10, are the latest victims of the pandemic. Last year spring and winter sports were canceled.

The move came after Clark County School District failed to reopen schools to start the new year.

“The kids, parents and I are devastated,” boys tennis coach Rachelle Huxford said. “At this point everyone thought it was a long shot that fall sports would happen. Even so, we are sad. I have been encouraging kids to be active any way possible. They need the socialization as well the exercise. These kids are missing out on the full high school experience. I feel really bad for the seniors. I know that none of them wanted their high school athletic careers to end this way.”

Ending its dynasty on a sour note, the girls volleyball team, which is the three-time defending 3A state champions, was perhaps hit the hardest when players were given the news they wouldn’t be able to compete for a fourth consecutive championship.

“It’s really sad that fall sports were cancelled this year,” senior Kamry Bailey said. “So many other states were able to make seasons happen for their athletes, but CCSD didn’t come through for us.”

“It’s really unfortunate not to be able to defend our state title,” Bailey said. “Ever since freshman year my teammates and I have talked about completing the ‘four-peat.’ It’s just super disheartening that all these experiences have been taken from us.”

Losing faith throughout the year after the cancellation of winter sports, Bailey and senior teammate Sierra Orton elected to graduate early from Boulder City High School and focus on their upcoming college seasons rather then let the pandemic take their season away.

“I graduated early in December because I had a gut feeling fall sports wouldn’t happen,” Orton said. “I worked so hard to have my senior season be the best one yet and I was given the opportunity to do that. I was so excited to be able to give the school one more state banner and getting to play one last time with my friends before we all head off to college. It breaks my heart that this is how us seniors are finishing our high school years.”

While Bailey and Orton are off to greener pastures, the cancellation of fall sports will be costly for several other seniors, who were looking for a last minute recruiting push.

“My heart really breaks for our seniors who were fighting for scholarship offers,” said football coach Chris Morelli. “We’re still on the phones trying to get guys recruited but these coaches want game tape, they can’t just go off of word of mouth. This hurts a lot of our guys who were on the cusp of getting an offer with some positive film.”

With fall and winter sports canceled for the season, many worry now that spring sports will be next on the chopping block, with the possibility of losing a second consecutive season.

“Honestly, we have given up all hope for spring sports,” said Huxford, who also coaches boys volleyball in the spring. “It is sad to think we will have missed two seasons. We will have a lot of inexperienced players that will have step up and play varsity. It will be difficult. I don’t think any of us thought this pandemic would last this long.”

Should in-person school resume in the coming weeks, spring sports are slated to play April 16 to May 22. At this time there is no timetable given by CCSD for a return.

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

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