BOONE — When Watauga girls’ lacrosse player Madisyn Fisher signed her letter of intent May 6, she had not played a game with the Pioneers since March 11.
The Pioneers have not been able to practice as a team with coach Julia Harrison since the North Carolina High School Association postponed prep athletics on March 14. Since then, prep athletics were shelved for the remainder of the spring.
“It’s a bummer, I will admit, being able to coach for only a few weeks,” Harrison said. “Meeting all of the girls and doing what I was able to do, it was awesome to be there and do the little bit I was able to do, but sad to see the seniors go.”
Harrison was in a unique situation with the Pioneers. She is a full-time student at Appalachian State instead of the usual arrangement of being a teacher at Watauga.
Harrison has one thing in common with her students in that she has to attend school virtually.
Harrison, who is from Pfafftown, said the last time she was in Boone was to check on her apartment. She said coaching helps her feel closer to the Watauga community.
“It allows me to get into the community and into Watauga and not just stay in my little bubble,” Harrison said. “I get to go out and meet people I wouldn’t meet if I was just staying alone with App State.”
Harrison is not allowed to conduct practices for the returning Watauga players until the school year ends. She would like to hold sessions in the summer months to improve the Pioneers’ skill level and make up for a season of experience lost.
There are other reasons why Harrison would like to improve the conditioning of the players over summer.
Watauga was showing improvement in the spring by posting a 2-1 record this season. The Pioneers lost to Reagan, which is where Harrison attended high school, 15-0, but beat visiting Patton 9-4 and won at Asheville 12-2.
Fisher, a four-year player with Watauga, missed the camaraderie the players had with each other and was proud of the team’s record when the season was ended.
“It was really hard finding out about it,” Fisher said. “We were all really bummed. We didn’t have a senior night or something like that.”