Senior season: Surrealness continues for Colbert, JHS
Monday was a day of conflicting emotions for Jamestown High School girls soccer player Kyah Colbert and most likely the rest of the school’s seniors.
Still holding out hope for some form of soccer season this spring, Colbert drove up to the high school -- like other JHS class of 2020 members -- to receive her graduation cap and gown curbside.
The scene wasn’t anything Colbert had ever imagined the moment would be.
“It felt really weird to have to get my cap and gown through my (car) window from a guy wearing a mask,” Colbert said. “The counselors were out there, too, with signs and stuff saying, like, ‘We (heart) our seniors,’ so that was really sad, too.”
It was the first time Colbert had been to the high school since students cleaned out their lockers last month. Gov. Doug Burgum shuttered North Dakota’s K-12 schools beginning March 16 in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and Jamestown Public Schools began implementing its online distance learning measures the following week.
With schools closed and social distancing recommended, the North Dakota High School Activities Association has suspended all sports indefinitely.
“I guess I kinda have somewhat high hopes, just because they haven’t officially called off the entire thing,” Colbert said of a possible soccer season. “There’s still time for it to happen.
“With graduation and prom we’ve already been told even if we have to have it in the summer, we’ll still have it. So that’s still something to look forward to.”
The school’s May 24 graduation date and April 25 rescheduled prom date, like everything else, are at the mercy of the ongoing pandemic. Jamestown girls soccer coach Brandi Harty has been distributing workouts to her athletes online three times a week and has instructed them to be ready to play.
The Blue Jays would’ve already played their fourth match of the season today (Tuesday).
“I continue to tell them just to stay positive, and the big message I always say is you have no idea when they’ll say your season is ready to go,” Harty said. “We want to be prepared for that, so I encourage these ladies as much as possible to continue to work out and think that it could happen today. You just don’t know as of right now.”
The Blue Jays still have high hopes for 2020. The team qualified for the program’s 15th state tournament in 2019 and will return eight seniors if sports were to receive the green light, including Colbert and captains Amaya Mielke and Megan Albrecht.
Jamestown turned a corner late last season, winning four of its final five regular-season contests before finishing 5-10-2 overall.
“They did find a little bit of stride at the end of the season and they were able to get into state and that was a huge deal for that team,” Harty said.
Jamestown did lose all-state athlete and current University of Jamestown women’s soccer player Peyton Rudnick to graduation, but everyone else returns. Starters coming back include defensive midfielders Colbert, Mielke and Sophie McLean (junior); attacking midfielders Ashlyn Schauer (senior), Hannah Murchie (sophomore) and Breanna Oettle (freshman); winger Haley Nelson (sophomore); backs Albrecht, Brenna Hatch (freshman) and Sara Sletto (eighth grade); and goalkeeper Meredith Walker (senior).
“I was definitely looking forward to this season,” Colbert said. “We have a lot of younger girls coming up that trained a lot this summer … we’d have Megan back, too, on defense.”
Albrecht, a left-back, was lost last May to a season-ending knee injury.
“We’d be back to our normal backline,” said Colbert, who recorded a pair of assists in West Region play as a junior. “Yeah, definitely, after what we did last season, I thought this one would be a really good one. We’re all still talking like it’s gonna happen, so I feel like that’s what’s keeping a lot of us positive.”
Harty is holding out hope as well. The NDHSAA tournament committee is scheduled to review the currently suspended winter basketball state tournaments today.
“We have quite a few seniors on this team. That’s probably the hardest thing, talking to those ladies because they’re stuck,” Harty said. “I think actually all of them have decided not to play college, so this was their last hurrah and so that’s kinda hard for them.
“They’re still very hopeful and obviously I am as well, we just don’t know what is going to happen.”