What was supposed to be another trip to March Magic in Louisville at the Special Olympics Basketball State Tournament for the 11-1 Caldwell County Tigers and for so many others, ended up with the same fate virtually every other sports function, local and national, has faced over the course of the last week with the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Tigers were informed that the 2020 state basketball tournament for last weekend had been canceled with no plans to reschedule.
While all of the athletes are understandably disappointed, there will be sports again for these players; it’s just unsure when it will return.
For Caldwell County players in Cayce Farmer, Mateo Wilkins, Brayden Milan, Mikey Nelson, Bentley Felkins, Eli Nelson, Lesile Simpkins, Leah Mcclung, Jason Williams, Shawn Harris, Tori Hooper, Joey Hobby, Lincoln Hawkins, Andrew Moore, Katie Beth Purcell. Absent Devin Sizemore, Mikey Sizemore, Elijah Dzikowski, Dylan Leitner Eli Cowan, Draven Stallins, Sara Gaines, Emily Melton and Caldwell County cheerleaders in Leslie Simpkins, Eli Nelson and Sarah Gaines, nothing can be taken away from their several accomplishments this season.
“To say, that we were disappointed would be an understatement,” Coach Roy Gene Rogerss said on a recent social media post.
Eight players from Caldwell County’s Blue squad, six from their Gold squad and three of their cheerleaders were set to travel to Louisville over the weekend of March 14.
For nine of those athletes, it would have been their first trip.
It wasn’t just the games though that were taken.
With new uniforms and new cheerleading outfits to show off, the athletes were scheduled to have a pizza and pool party, with a weekend experience in a hotel that many of the kids hadn’t previously seen..
The Caldwell County gold team was set to participate in the dribbling and shot Team Skills Competition on that Saturday.
“Our Blue Team went 11 and 1 this year and we felt very good about bringing back the Gold medals to Caldwell County,” Rogers added.
“The Gold team has improved tremendously throughout the season and would have been competing in the skills competition at the state tournament. The gold team has spent the last three weeks working on their dribbling, passing and shooting skills and we felt very good about their chances of bringing back a medal.”
Caldwell County has sent a special olympics basketball team to the State Tournament for the last five years, and all five seasons, county coordinator Vickie Purcell has been with the team every step of the way.
The person that organized and conducted the first meeting, Purcell has been in charge since the first meeting.
The March Magic tournament was set to be played at the MidAmerica Sports Center in Louisville on March 14-15.
“Our cheerleaders are the cutest squad in Western Kentucky and perhaps the state. They have learned cheers this season and added a whole new dimension to our program this year,” Rogers said in his Facebook post.
“The Special Olympics “Family” would like to say Thank You to this community for your support.”