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Thursday, 06 August 2020 06:52

Raider Reaction: 10 rising seniors discuss clearance of fall sport workouts

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ROSports File Photo: rising senior cheerleader Macy Faw (center) is one of 10 Richmond seniors to discuss the beginning of workouts. ROSports File Photo: rising senior cheerleader Macy Faw (center) is one of 10 Richmond seniors to discuss the beginning of workouts. Jimmy McDonald — The Richmond Observer.

ROCKINGHAM — There is perhaps no one more excited about the return of high school sports in Richmond County than its local student-athletes, especially members of the rising senior class.

Following Richmond County Schools’ decision to clear all fall sports athletes and coaches for voluntary workouts beginning on Thursday, many student-athletes in the class of 2021 took to social media to share their thoughts.

Sports have been on hiatus since March 13, and as the five-month mark nears, the practice fields at Richmond Senior High School will slowly start to show signs of normalcy later this week.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday the extension of Phase Two which will lengthen the time period before student-athletes are allowed to play games, but it’s not stopping the excitement of local players. 

In this ROSports feature, 10 senior student-athletes representing six different fall sports programs share their reactions to the news that there is still hope that a season will be played in the coming months.

Raider Football

Jaron Coleman, two-year varsity running back 

“When I found out, I was extremely excited. We’ve been postponed for so long and I didn’t know if we would get to play again. But there’s a lot of great energy right now.

“This season is important because now I’ll play every game like it’s my last game,” Coleman added. “We may not get the whole season, but I want to just enjoy the game while we have our season back. I’m really excited to see the guys and the coaches.”

Tremel Jones, two-year varsity wide receiver 

“It was one of the happiest moments of summer. When Coach (Bryan) Till told us, I couldn’t feel anything but good emotions. It was like new life and the sport was coming back alive again.

“Everybody was happy and posting on social media,” Jones said. “I’m glad to have hope for a season, and it’s nice to see people falling in love with the sport again.

“For us seniors, this last ride is very important (for scholarships). We have something to prove and work for, and it’s a blessing to be a part of a school that gets this much attention. We are being patient but excited for the opportunity to showcase our skills.”

Lady Raider Cheerleading

Macy Faw, four-year varsity main base

“I was surprised when I heard we were going to be able to begin workouts because we’d been told a couple times this summer there was a chance of starting back. But it’s surreal since we’ve been out so long. I’m excited for it.

“This year I’m looking forward to being a leader on the team,” Faw added. “I’ll be one of the older cheerleaders who usually get a chance to lead. I’m excited for how we’re going to do things since it’s a little different, but it should be fun.”

Carissa Byrne, three-year varsity main base

“I was excited because it hadn't hit me that my cheerleading career could be over. But now I know I’m going to be able to have my senior year. Normally we’d have been practicing all summer, but me and some of the girls have a group chat and we talked about how excited we are.

“It means a lot to be back, especially since I miss my team and coach so much,” Byrne said. “I’m hoping to make more memories and have a good time with friends. I’m ready to cheer on Friday nights in front of the crowd.”

Raider Soccer

Cale Luckey, two-year varsity striker and right midfielder

“I got a text from my teammate River (Meacham) that said we were cleared to workout. I called him to make sure it was real, and when he said it was, I ran upstairs screaming and yelling at my mother and father because I was so excited we get to play soccer.

“I really think it’s important for the seniors to get to play our last year,” Luckey continued. “Some of us didn’t get to play a lot last year so this is our opportunity to play games and have fun with the boys. A lot of us are excited to start the Bleacher Creatures for football season, if we’re allowed to go to the games.”

Karym Ojeda, two-year varsity left and right midfielder

“I was mostly relieved when I found out that we were allowed to do workouts. I’m also happy that I can get the senior season experience with my teammates. It’s exciting because this is my last year and we want to go all-out and make it worth it.

“I think we’ll be great this season, even if it’s a shortened season.” Ojeda added. “The players we have all have chemistry, and we’re looking forward to winning. I know we want to win the conference championship, but it’ll be good to get out with the guys. I’ve missed seeing them.”

Lady Raider Volleyball

Kelly Hoffman, two-year varsity outside hitter

“I was really excited to hear that our senior year is going to happen. I’m glad to go back and play because I honestly didn’t think we would play because of the virus. It’s also a little sad, too, because it is my last year. But hopefully I'll get to go to college and continue playing.

“It's important to play as a senior because it’s my last year and I want to make the best of it,” Hoffman noted. “After high school, it’s a different life, so I’m just going to take it all in during this last ride.”

Shelly Hoffman, two-year varsity setter

“I was super excited more so than others because I’ve been waiting it out way longer than other girls because of my torn ACL. I haven’t gotten to play in nine months, so it’s good to know I’ll be able to play.

“Getting a chance to have a senior season with my sister and all the other seniors is really important because we’ve all played together a long time and made a lot of memories,” she added. “I have a lot of connections with the girls and sports are really important to all of us.”

Lady Raider Tennis

Kearston Bruce, two-year No. 1 seed

“I’m really excited, a little bit more than normal, since most of my softball season was canceled in the spring. It was my first full season on varsity, but it’s good to be back and get a chance to play tennis. It’s also a sport that is already spaced out, which is good.

“I’m looking forward to getting back out there as a Raider because I’ve really missed sports altogether,” Bruce said. “Our senior season is really important to a lot of people because we look at sports as an escape.”

Raider Cross Country

Will Thompson, four-year runner

“When I heard that we were cleared for workouts, I was excited because we’re finally going to be able to get back to practice. I’m really looking forward to just getting to see everyone I play sports with.

“I like that we’ll get our senior year, and even though we don’t know how long the season will be, it’s better than nothing,” Thompson added. “A couple months ago we weren’t sure if we’d ever play again. I’m grateful to have something to do during our senior year.”

ROSports will continue its coverage of Richmond Senior athletics and summer workouts later this week.

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

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