Unfinished Business

Harlie Murray of Monterey had no idea the basketball season would be her final organized sporting event at her school.

To say Monterey senior Harlie Murray has been devastated by her senior year coming to an early end because of the coronavirus would be an understatement.

"This was supposed to be the best part of our lives and we're missing it," Murray said.

Murray is also missing out on a chance to finish her high school career in championship form.

As a junior last year at the Class B State Track Championships at LSU, Murray finished third in the 100-dash at 12.75, third in the 200-dash at 26.73, and fourth in the long jump at 16 feet, 2.5 inches. The Lady Wolves finished third as a team last year in Class B, returning most of its team.

The Monterey softball team was No. 8 in the Class B power rankings when play was stopped on Mach 17.

The Lady Wolves were 6-2 on the season, coming off an 8-12 season that saw the Monterey upset Lacassine in a first round playoff game before falling to Holden in the second round.

Murray, who was named first team all-district, batted .360 with 11 walks last season. 

The Lady Wolves' softball team was made up of five seniors.

Monterey had advanced to the second round of the playoffs every year since 2010, including two trips to the state tournament.

"I think we were stronger as a team this year," Murray said. "I definitely think we were closer. We were devastated."

Murray said she has spent a lot of time with her family since school and sports were shut down.

"They have really been helping me get through this," she said. "It's been very frustrating to not be able to do the things I love so much. I wish I would have known that last spring would have been my last. I would have treasured it more. It's all been a very big surprise. I still don't think I have wrapped my head around it."

At the Class B Regionals last year, Murray placed second in the 100-meter dash at 13.03, second in the long jump at 16 feet, 2.5 inches and third in the 200-dash at 28.15. 

Murray was part of of the Monterey girls 4X100 relay team that finished fifth at State last year. Murray, Andy Gray, Sarah Jane Gray and Madison Green ran a 53.76 to earn the team points in the competition.

 "Track this year was something I was very excited about," Murray said. "I thought I had a real good chance to finish first. The girl who finished first last year graduated."

Monterey's track team only had one practice.

The Wolves' track team was scheduled to compete in Winnfield on March 20.

The softball team was beginning to put everything in place for a run.

Murray said she did not want to believe it was all over after the Wolves defeated Harrisonburg 8-3 in the final game of a home doubleheader on March 14.

Murray was hitting .297 with an on base percentage of .500 when the season was cancelled.

"I really wasn't sad about it then, but as they started canceling more and more games I kind of realized what was happening," she said. "When the LHSAA sent out its final letter I realized we would not be playing. But I actually still held out hope and still pray that this would all go away and they would change their minds."

It was a big life-changer on and off the field.

"One day you go to school and then you don't go back," Murray said. "I never thought I would not be walking those halls again."

Murray now looks ahead to attending Louisiana-Monroe and taking up speech pathology.

But she has learned not to take anything for granted.

"I hope we can still go to college in August," she said. "I just want everything to go back to normal."

Which is far from what the senior is experiencing now.

"I've always been very active and social," she said. "Having to stay at home has not been very fun. I've never stayed in this place this long before. But I know if I can get through this, I can handle a lot of other challenges."

Murray, who was named to the All-Academic Composite Girls Basketball and All-Academic Composite Softball Teams with a 4.0 grade point average, said the quarantine has been tough on all the seniors.

"We just feel like we have missed out on so many important things," she said. "Monterey school has been a part of my life for so long. And now all of my friends will be going in different directions. It's taken a toll on all of us. We're still doing school work at home. It still feels like school, but we're not in school."

And she misses her teachers and coaches.

"They have been part of my life for so long," she said.

Murray never envisioned the basketball season being her final complete season.

The Lady Wolves finished this season at 23-5, winning their first 15 games, sharing district champion honors before defeating Pitkin 54-44 in a first round playoff contest before falling to Midland in the second round.

Murray was named Class 5B first team All-Defense and honorable mention on the all-district squad.

"I'm glad we were at least able to finish up in basketball," Murray said. "It was a good way eventually end our sports careers."

Despite the loss of so many memories, Murray still keeps a positive attitude.

"The toughest part is that we really didn't get any closure," Murray said. "But everything happens for a reason and I know God is in control. I just keep praying everything will go back to normal."


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