By David Knox
The TSSAA’s decision to fall in line with the governor’s request to close schools and cancel the remaining of the spring sports season has a heartbreaking impact, especially for those athletes who lose one last season to play for their beloved school.
“This has been a really rough time,” said Moore County High School tennis coach Manny Buchanan. “It’s hard to take it in. I just want the best for my kids and it breaks my heart to think that I have four seniors that will never play tennis for Moore County again.”
Those four seniors are Evan McKenzie, Blake Woosley and Seth Sherrill on the boys team and Alexis Archibald on the girls team. Also missing out is first-year manager Bron Cates, who Buchanan said had already done things behind the scenes. “Bron has a good heart,” Buchanan said. “He never lets anything get him down and he brought positivity to the school and every sport he was a part of.”
Archibald picked up the sport after her brother played. “Alexis has grown so much on and off the court,” her coach said. “She excelled as a doubles player for me the past two years and it makes us both sick that her senior season has been cut short.”
McKenzie started playing as a sophomore, the first year MCHS had a team, and was a two-year captain. “Evan was probably the winningest boys tennis player we have ever had,” the coach said. McKenzie and Garrett Jennings won the boys doubles district title last season, made the region finals and were three games away from going to the state tournament.
“I know this is really tough for Evan. His basketball season was cut short before his senior year started because of a collapsed lung, and now COVID-19 stole his senior tennis season.”
Woosley, a two-year starter, a baseball and basketball player, brought athleticism to the team. “He became a leader for us, earning the title of captain for his senior season.”
Buchanan saved some of his warmest words for Sherrill, a three-year team member, who was a football manager as well. He knew the two-year captain well, since Buchanan is defensive coordinator for the Raiders.
“Seth had a heart condition that wouldn’t allow him to play football, so when tennis came around, he was all-in. Words can’t express how much this program will miss Seth Sherrill. He would outwork anybody. His leadership was outstanding.”
Buchanan said the seniors all feel like something was taken from them.
“Trust me, I feel that way, too,” he said. “But I can’t be too upset. If I have learned anything from this, it is that you need to cherish the good times you have with people. The good ol’ days are happening right now.
“In tennis love means nothing, but in life love means everything. I hope these seniors know how much this community loves them. We will miss you guys!”