PRCC softball having to deal with heartbreak of canceled season

Published 7:00 am Friday, March 27, 2020

The softball team for the Pearl River Community College Lady Wildcats was in the midst of its first season with Christie Meeks at the helm when the it came to a screeching halt due to the NJCAA making the decision to cancel all spring sports and competitions on March 16.

Meeks said her players had a hard time dealing with the sudden cancellation.

“We were a new coaching staff and our girls really responded to the stuff we were doing and getting better every day. It’s really hard with the ‘what if’ (aspect),” Meeks said.

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A positive coming from the cancellation of the spring sports is that the athletes who were part of those teams won’t lose a year of eligibility.

This in turn affects recruiting because coaches don’t know what the limit will be on roster size for next year.

If the Lady Wildcats were to keep some sophomores and have a full incoming class of freshman, would PRCC be allowed to keep all of those players?

The answer currently is unclear.

Recruiting is an important task for any college program and it’s no different for the Lady Wildcats.

However, the NJCAA has suspended all recruiting activities until April 15 at the earliest.

In these unprecedented times Meeks said she’s curious to see what impact the NJCAA’s decisions will have on the future of the program.

“There are definitely going to be repercussions in the end. I don’t know if that is going to be how many people are on the roster, or how recruiting will be. We’re just going to have to figure it out along the way,” Meeks said.

Meeks’ program is one of many across the county trying to figure out what the future holds.

Meeks said her message to her team after the cancellation came down was to just “control the controllable” and not let the cancellation ruin their spirits.

“We can’t control that we can’t recruit, we can’t control that the virus is so aggressive, but we can control ourselves and work hard at home. Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed,” Meeks said.

An issue the Lady Wildcats are dealing with, along with numerous programs across the country, is the feeling of a lost season.

Meeks said the players were upset because they felt they had worked hard during the offseason only for their chance to compete to be ripped away.

“I said that work isn’t something that can be taken away from you. This is definitely something we can continue to grow from,” Meeks said.

Now the team is left wondering what path to take from here as uncertainty surrounds the next season. The questions of how letters of intent will be handled, roster sizes and eligibility issues still need to be answered.

The novelty of the whole experience has athletes around the country wondering if and when things will return to normal.

“This is some uncharted waters that nobody has been through before. There are going to be a lot of things that are going to be new, from top schools all the way down, that nobody understands and sees (right now),” Meeks said.