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Murray Journal

Cottonwood softball tries to stay positive in wake of closure

Apr 13, 2020 02:06PM ● By Nichole Duffy

The Colts play against Alta. (Photo courtesy of

By Nichole Duffy | [email protected]

As the Cottonwood Colts softball team was waiting out rain in St. George hoping they could regain access to the field, some more bad news hit—all games for the annual softball tournament were indefinitely cancelled.

The news came Friday, March 13, just ahead of the long-awaited St. George warm-up tournament, on the heels of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As the team packed up their gear, the weight of the situation hung in the air, heavy atop the heads of the senior players.

“I have talked with a lot of seniors from my classes and they are discouraged about what they could potentially be missing for the remainder of their senior year, not just as athletes,” explained Coach Jennifer Riches.

Senior Emerald Kelsch shared her concerns. “I am really torn up about it. I’m scared I won’t be given the opportunity to experience high school the way I have always seen and dreamed about,” Kelsch said. “I am really hoping after these two weeks everything can go back to normal, and I can have the senior year I’ve always wanted.”

Riches takes this into account as she tries to deal with the delicate situation. “We started posting workouts for the girls to do at home to keep their conditioning up,” Riches said.

When asked if she thinks the team can still bounce back from this Riches said, “Our players are eager to learn and have committed to doing what they can on their own to maintain their skills. I like visualization and continue to encourage the girls to visualize themselves playing a game and seeing the outcome.”

She continued, “It will be hard coming back in April (on March 23, school closures were announced to continue until May 1) and having it feel like the beginning of the season again but I know the girls will work hard and will be able to bounce back.”

Riches said they have been working with their athletic trainer from TOSH to create a band shoulder strengthening routine that they have sent the girls to do at least three times a week.

“Shoulder and elbow soreness and injuries are the biggest problems we face as softball athletes, so strengthening their shoulders is the best thing they can do during the down time,” Riches said.

Riches, as well as with other teachers at Cottonwood High School, have had to, very quickly, change their in-person courses to an online format. Riches said this has kept her busy in the last week.

“I am fortunate to work in a district that has been using Canvas (the online portal) for a number of years and I have worked over the past years to provide my instruction in a paperless manner, that has really helped me stay positive,” Riches said.

“It is a very unique time to be a teacher, however, technology is readily available and there are so many online resources to use that helps with this transition,” Riches said.

It appears that the Cottonwood softball team is trying their best to stay positive in the face of a crisis and is working every day to come back strong if the ban lifts.