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Sugar House Journal

Highland track standouts reflect on season that wasn’t

Jul 06, 2020 11h42 ● By Josh McFadden

Moira Hicks was one of the top returning 100-meter sprinters in Class 5A.

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

The 2020 track and field season was supposed to be memorable one for a couple of Highland High School athletes. It definitely was a season to remember, just not in the way anyone expected or wanted. 

It was over shortly after it began. 

Like the thousands of other Utah high school student-athletes, Highland’s Annie Murdock and Moira Hicks felt the bitter disappointment of COVID-19 robbing them of their aspiration. For these two Rams, it was their final chance to compete together and with their teammates. 

“I was pretty devastated,” Murdock said. “I had a lot of goals for this upcoming season and was bummed that I wouldn’t be able to reach them.”

Coming into the 2020 campaign, Highland track and field head coach Gary Rowles had touted Murdock as the “fastest returning sprinter in the state.” Luckily, Murdock had already signed with the University of Utah, so she didn’t miss out on recruiting possibilities. However, the outstanding competitor lost other opportunities. 

“It’s been hard knowing that our high school careers have been cut short,” she said. “For some, this was their last season to do what they loved with people they’ve gotten close to. A lot of athletes aren’t continuing to play in college, so this was going to be a big season for them to finish out on. I know for some of us, we had big goals like school records, personal records and new events to try, but we didn’t get the chance to reach them. Even beyond sports, knowing that our graduation, prom and other big events are being canceled has been rough. We’ve been looking forward to them for four-plus years.”

Hicks, who was the Region 6 champion in the 100-meter hurdles in 2019, had her sights set high this season. Now, she’ll always wonder whether she could’ve gotten there. 

“It has been quite difficult realizing that I'll never be able to break the school record in the 100-meter hurdles or place at state, as were my main goals going into this season,” she said. “I had gotten so close to accomplishing these goals last year and was so confident that I'd do it this year.”

There are other aspects of being on the Highland team that Hicks won’t get to experience. 

“My first thoughts upon hearing of the cancellation of my fourth, and final, track season were how much I was going to miss spending every day with the friends (peers and coaches alike) that I've gotten to know over these years of track,” she said.

In the months since the coronavirus put an end to in-person classes and the sports season, both Murdock and Hicks have learned from these challenges. 

“I’ve learned that it’s OK to be disappointed, sad and even angry about everything that’s happening,” Murdock said. “I have good days and not so good days, and that’s all right. I’m optimistic about the future and grateful for the opportunities and experiences I’ve had over the last few years.”

“Through this situation, I have come to realize just how important it is to give your 100% in everything that you do, as it's never, never guaranteed that you'll be able to come back and try again later,” Hicks said. “I've learned to value every moment you are able to spend with your friends and every moment doing something you love. Nothing lasts forever.”