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Poplarville tennis losing time to develop

The tennis team for the Poplarville Hornets was in the midst of its season when the Mississippi High School Activities Association decided to suspend all athletic activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Poplarville took on the Stone Wildcats March 13 and just three days later the MHSAA suspended athletic activities until March 29.

On March 20 the suspension was extended until April 17 putting the Hornets’ season in jeopardy.

The team has a lot of new, inexperienced players and Head Coach Kim Meyers had been hoping to continue honing their skills as the season progressed.

“They were beginning to find their little niche and starting to progress. I was pleased with their performances. Overall, if they could’ve kept playing they could’ve improved even greater,” Meyers said.

The suspension itself didn’t surprise the team with rumors swirling for quite some time before the decision was made.

Meyers said the length of the suspension, on the other hand, did come as a surprise.

The team wasn’t planning on being off the courts for such a long period of time, but in this case tennis wasn’t the priority for Meyers.

“I told them to go home, listen to the school for reports, stay with their families and keep safe. That was of the utmost importance. Sports would come second, safety was first,” Meyers said.

Poplarville had one more set of matches scheduled before the team was set to compete in the regional tournament scheduled for April 7.

That’s not a possibility any more, so rescheduling may occur depending on when the suspension is lifted.

Meyers said teams try to get all their regular season matches done a week or two before playoffs so there’s time for reschedules, but that’s been the policy to deal with rainouts, not outbreaks.

“The weather was good to us this year, but this came along and put everything on hold. State playoffs were set for April 24,” Meyers said.

Meyers said the suspension also impacted how next year’s athletics will work.

Usually athletes will have their physicals done in April, so they have the forms ready for the following year’s competitions.

However, with schools closed and athletics suspended there’s no telling how or when that process will take place. 

With so much uncertainty Meyers said her message to her players was simple after it became clear they wouldn’t be on the courts for an extended period of time.

Be mindful and stay healthy.

“Sports are great, we love it, but there comes a time when you have to think of your safety and the safety of everyone around you. I know it’s tough for them, especially with a sport they like,” Meyers said.