When Babette Bright walked off the track at St. Agnes Academy on March 12, she had no idea it would be for the final time this year.
More than a month later, the St. Pius X High School senior has little clarity on what her future holds in track and field — or if she may have sprinted through the finish line for the last time.
Soon after last month’s meet, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) announced that school sporting events and other extracurricular activities throughout Texas had been suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All schools in the state are closed until at least May 4 per an executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott, effectively ending high school sports for the 2019-20 school year.
Bright, who was part of two medal-winning relay teams at last year’s TAPPS state meet, is still debating where to go to college next year and hopes to continue running track. She does not have any scholarship offers.
“It’s been really weird not having anything to do. My mom and I were just trying to see what we could do to help myself in this situation, because I really want to run track in college,” said Bright, who is considering Houston Baptist University, West Texas A&M and Texas A&M at Corpus Christi as potential options.
She has competed at the varsity level as a short-distance sprinter for the Panthers since her freshman year, and added the long jump to her repertoire this year in efforts to become a more well-rounded athlete. But she’s not getting the chance to display her athleticism.
“Without having this season, it’s going to be really hard to show other coaches that I can run at that level,” Bright said. “It’s really disappointing to see everything was suspended and I couldn’t compete anymore.”
As the cancellation has set in, Bright has looked up speed workouts and kept in contact with head coach Maya Ewing for training mechanisms. But despite her best efforts, Bright is not sure she’ll ever get the chance to make her mark and impression on college coaches.
“The most challenging aspect of it all is not being able to run outside, which is one of the main things I do,” she said. “It’s really weird right now because I’m not able to give (college coaches) my track schedule, so it’s difficult for them to see what I can do and where I could be placed at for them.”
However, the last few weeks for Bright have been full of FaceTime, listening to music or spending time with her mom as she grapples with her uncertain athletic future. It’s all she can do.
“We’re just trying to handle it the best we can,” she said.