200310-CCHS-MHS

Copperas Cove's Sarina Gray (5) is met by her teammates at home plate after hitting a home run against Waco Midway on Tuesday in Copperas Cove. Midway won 17-2.

Kye Robertson overcame cancer, but he is helpless against the coronavirus.

In 2016, among other things, Robertson was robbed of his coaching career after being diagnosed with Myeloid Sarcoma — a form of leukemia.

Following a lengthy battle, however, Robertson recovered and reclaimed his life and his professional passion, taking over Harker Heights’ softball program this season.

And the team thrived.

The Lady Knights won four of their first five District 12-6A games, positioning them to potentially reach the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

But on Friday, the University Interscholastic League banned all sanctioned activities until March 30 at the earliest amid the recent coronavirus concerns, stunning athletes, fans and coaches across the state.

The decision was especially difficult for Robertson to accept.

“I thought I was never even going to get back into coaching after all my health issues,” he said, “but God blessed me, and I got back. Then, right when we get things rolling and have a chance to make some history — BAM!

“But we can only control what we can control.”

The sentiment is shared by countless others as the unprecedented moves reverberated throughout the state’s athletic landscape.

Along with simply absorbing the news, coaches are also trying to figure out how to proceed, including Ellison head boys track and field coach Jared Shaw.

“It’s been crazy,” he said. “We’re just trying to figure out what to do with track meets and how the season can continue.

“There’s just a whole lot of logistics that need to be ironed out.”

As of now, the first day the ban will be lifted is also the opening day of the District 12-6A track meet, and during the span, District 12-6A softball and baseball teams will miss three or four games each that will need to be made up or removed.

Additionally, the boys and girls soccer playoffs were set to begin March 26 but have been pushed back to April 14. Regional and state powerlifting meets — which are not governed by the UIL — that were scheduled for the weekend and the next — were also postponed.

Making matters worse, along with competitions being cancelled, some area school districts, including Killeen, Gatesville and Belton, are also closing their campuses for the upcoming week to help prevent spreading the illness. During this time, practices are not permitted.

Considering numerous athletes will be thrust back into intense competition once the ban is lifted, conditioning will be key.

“We have to rely on the kids to adhere to the foundations we set as coaches,” Shaw said. “They’re going to have to work out on their own or meet up in groups.

“It’s really easy to get out of shape, and that’s scary for me right now.”

Along with baseball, softball soccer, and track and field, the ban affects schedules for tennis and golf teams.

While the effects are widespread and varied, Lampasas head baseball coach Shane Doege will attempt to make the best of the decision.

“We’re going to get a refresher during the middle of the season,” he said. “You don’t normally get that, and it might not be a bad thing.

“We’re still just trying to review the situation and go from there.”

FRIDAY'S STATEMENT FROM THE UIL:

To support the health and safety of our students and communities, the University Interscholastic League (UIL) is suspending all UIL sanctioned contests due to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Texas. Effective March 16, all UIL interscholastic competition is suspended through March 29. 

Rehearsals and practices may be held at the discretion of the local school district.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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