Pioneers' stoppers
Wharton County Junior College volleyball players, from left, Jada Johnson of Eagle Lake, Alexus Grounds of Eagle Lake and Savannah Bronstad of Jourdanton, block an attack from a Lee College player during a game played last fall.

Volleyball and baseball will be spring sports this year at the Wharton County Junior College.

The WCJC Pioneers volleyball team under normal circumstances would be preparing for the start of the season starting in August. However, COVID-19 threw them and all sports around the state and country a fiery down ball that no one has been able to stop.

Through guidance from the National Junior College Athletic Association, football along with men’s and women’s soccer, and court volleyball will move to the spring. Cross-country and tennis will be allowed to be played in their normal season this fall.

“Our greatest focus is and always has been providing the best opportunities for our student-athletes,” Christopher Parker, NJCAA president said via a press release Monday afternoon. “Through a unified effort from our Presidential Advisory Council, the board of regents, and leadership staff, our most recent plan of action provides a path that keeps our student-athletes competing at the highest level with proper safety measures in place. As we move forward as an association, we will continue to provide opportunities for our student-athletes, coaches, and all those involved with the NJCAA to be safe and successful.”

For the Pioneers volleyball team, they will have to wait until the beginning of 2021 at the earliest.

“I want us to get back on the field and the court more than anybody, but right now, the situation does not allow it,” Pioneers Athletic Director Keith Case said. “When you talk about putting kids on the road, on a bus, meals on the road, there are just too many issues with the way (COVID-19 cases are growing). I promise you four weeks ago, I thought we were heading in the right direction, but right now we’re heading in the wrong direction. I think the wise thing to do is to protect our student-athletes.”

The change will affect three Wharton County college freshmen.  Boling’s Tori Arrington and Wharton’s Ataya Watkins signed to play for the Pioneers. El Campo’s Megan Rek signed to play for Blinn College. Now all three will have to wait until the spring to start playing volleyball again.

While volleyball will have to wait to start, the Pioneers rodeo team is still waiting for guidance from their governing body, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. Rodeo competes in both the fall and in the spring.

The Pioneers last year were not able to complete their baseball season after COVID-19 concerns caused campuses around the country to close. The WCJC has been on-line only since.

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