Wittman: Tonganoxie High softball had tough group of seniors poised for big year

The Tonganoxie HIgh softball team returned a huge senior class with high hopes for the 2020 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted those aspirations with the cancellation of spring sports. Pictured, front row, from left, are Sam Reynolds, Ally Sparks, manager Alex Hartpence, Haley Robinette and Cadence Cole; back row, from left, Erin Gallagher, Bridge Knipp and Lauren Gray. Enlarge photo

June 11, 2020

Editor’s Note: The Mirror is asking spring sports coaches to pen open letters to their student-athletes, team parents and fans, or whomever they wish to address their open letters about their lost seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letters will be published in the coming weeks.

Dear Chieftain Softball players,

I am writing to tell you all how proud and honored I am to have been your coach this season. With the season being cut short, in the 2 weeks we had together you all showed your commitment to the program and your passion for this game.

If you’re having a hard time finding closure to what could have been for this season, you are not alone.

I am too.

I think about all the time we lost not getting to experience this season together as a team. The bus rides, the rain delays, the team huddles, the inside jokes, BK’s daily jokes:) the tough practices that made all of you better teammates and competitors, the Easter Egg hunt, the Lock In, the high fives after a win, the look of dissatisfaction after a loss and the hopes of another State appearance.

For our nine seniors ... Lauren Gray, Erin Gallagher, Haley Robinette, Ally Sparks, Cadence Cole, Alex Hartpence, Destiny Dishman,

Sam Reynolds and Bridget Knipp — thank you for making such an impression on me as a coach and this program. From the day you all came to camp in elementary school I looked forward to coaching you your senior season.

You all had put in so much work in the offseason, you made my job easy being your high school coach.

You guys brought all the pieces to the puzzle and as a team we figured out how to put it all together to be the most competitive team we could be. This was supposed to be YOUR YEAR.

You are all such tough, independent and competitive young ladies and I have no doubt that this lost season won’t be one that we look back on and feel sorry for ourselves, but we will look back and know that we all have this special bond that no other team will have.

To all the current and future Chieftain softball players: I hope you have the passion and love for the game like these nine seniors did.

I hope that you got to learn and be around these nine young ladies if even if it was just for two weeks or three years or a week at camp. They have put their mark on the program, now you get to put yours.


Coach Wittman

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