POTTSBORO — It was a bittersweet moment for Kendal Rainey and Sammy Wallis. In their final high school months, they had hoped at this point to be deep into the softball playoffs or having just competed at the state track meet.
But because the coronavirus pandemic forced the University Interscholastic League to postpone and then eventually cancel athletic activities through the rest of the school year, neither Rainey nor Wallis were able to finish up at Pottsboro like they wanted to.
A silver lining for the Lady Cardinal duo is that they are not done competing as Rainey and Wallis announced their decisions to continue their careers in college.
Rainey will play softball at Hendrix College while Wallis will compete in track and field at Southeastern Oklahoma State.
Rainey was hitting .333 with a .395 on-base percentage and three doubles, 11 RBI and 11 runs and the Lady Cardinals were 9-6 overall and 1-0 in District 9-3A action when the season came to a halt.
A year ago she hit .246 with a .317 on-base percentage with three doubles, nine RBI and 14 runs.
“I felt unfulfilled last year. This was going to be my year,” Rainey said. “It was a lesson to not take anything for granted. You don’t take your teammates and coaches for granted.”
As a sophomore she was named second-team all-district after batting .328 with a .426 on-base percentage, 12 RBI and 11 runs.
In her freshman season, Rainey was a Class 3A honorable mention all-state selection by the Texas Sports Writers Association after being a first-team all-district pick. She hit .372 with four doubles, a home run, 21 RBI and 19 runs as Pottsboro reached the region quarterfinals with the team’s best season in 12 years.
Hendrix was 7-7 overall and 4-4 in the Southern Athletic Association when its season was cancelled. Last spring the Warriors were 20-19 and 10-8 in conference play for their second straight 20-win season. Denison’s Jaydan Hunt and Gunter’s Abby Gilbreath were on the roster this spring.
“It was a relief I had a softball family to go back to after it was sad that this one got cut short,” Rainey said. “Academics were extremely important. I knew it was a place that was going to push me academically, push me athletically and push me as a person.”
Wallis, also a member of the softball team, did not get to compete in a single track meet this spring.
“It was hard,” Wallis said. “Track means the most to me out of all my sports. I wish I could have had just one meet to compete in.”
As a junior, she was the District 9-3A champion in the shot put at 33 feet, nine-and-a-half inches — more than two-and-a-half feet ahead of the runner-up — and she was third in the discus at 97 feet, 10 inches to advance to the area round in that event as well.
She then had a personal best in the shot of 36 feet, two inches in the area meet and then at the Class 3A Region II meet, Wallis placed sixth with a toss of 33 feet, eight inches and was hoping to build on those efforts as a senior.
“I knew I had a good chance at regionals and maybe state,” Wallis said. “I’m glad Southeastern was interested and I’m able to keep doing this.”
It was the second straight season she had advanced to the regional competition — as a sophomore she was second at the area meet with a throw of 32 feet, two-and-a-half inches. Wallis also made the area meet in the discus, placing eighth.
Southeastern Oklahoma State competed in just one meet this past spring before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled the rest of its season.
In 2019, the program was reinstated after it had been discontinued in 1996 and in its first year at the Division II level had six top-10 finishes at the Great American Conference Championships.
Among those on the 2020 roster were Denison’s Zaycia Guthrie, Bells’ Danielle Doggett and Whitesboro’s Sierra Parks.