By Sports editor, Brian Hoffman
When the Virginia High School League officially cancelled the spring sports season last week it ended any hope of the William Byrd tennis teams competing in the spring season. Both boys and girls teams were anxious to get started just as the coronavirus pandemic halted all high school sports, and both had some experienced players returning.
The girls have four seniors who won’t get to play their final season, Eden Harrilla, Olivia Ashworth, Maddie Glover and Camden Dippel. Glover represented Byrd in the Region 4D singles tournament last year and teamed with Ashworth for regional doubles, winning their first match.
“We have a group chat set up using an app on our phones,” said Byrd coach Ashley Stultz. “We text updates back and forth, or send pictures of us working out. I try to check in with them weekly.”
For the boys, seniors include returning captain Robbie Faust, Logan Bond, Cole Stohler, Will Cummings and Jacob Johnson. Faust won his first match in the Region 4D singles tournament in a three-set tie-breaker last spring and teamed with Bond for doubles.
“I’m very disappointed,” said coach Bill Fitzgibbon. “These guys have been working for three years and I felt this was their year. We have five seniors in our starting lineup and we started working and planning last summer toward the 2020 season to showcase and promote our seniors’ efforts and improvement.”
Like the girls, the boys have kept in touch through social media during the pandemic.
“Losing the season is deflating,” said Fitzgibbon. “I miss being there every day, helping these kids feel good about their growth and accomplishments. Unfortunately I am now addressing ‘home projects’. I fell down the stairs and spilled paint on a hardwood floor, then addressed that by making an ever bigger mess.
“I feel my health is in greater danger from home projects than from the virus!”