This Maryland high school player profiles series is presented by the U.S. Army.
By Darryl Kinsey, CountySportsZone.com
March typically marks the beginning of the spring thaw and the first practices for spring sports athletes. For two-sport athletes, the spring season typically serves as a chance to continue the success from the previous year.
For Liberty High School senior Caroline Evans, the spring season was to be the culmination of four incredible years of playing field hockey in the fall and lacrosse in the spring.
Caroline got her start in field hockey with the Freedom Area Recreation Council in fourth grade. From there, she made the Liberty High team as a freshman.
“I tried out with everyone else, and then me and a few other girls got pulled aside and we got pulled up [to the varsity team] and it’s been the four of us ever since then,” Caroline said.
The four freshmen helped Liberty win the MPSSAA state 1A field hockey title in 2016 and pick up back-to-back titles in 2018 and 2019. The Lions went undefeated in 2019 and amassed an incredible 65-8 record from 2016-2019.
What made the most recent title special to Caroline was the addition of her sister, Jenna, to the varsity team. Caroline said she was excited to have a chance to play with her sister after spending time in the past as a coach at her field hockey camps.
“I was so nervous for her around tryouts but as soon as I saw the coach talk to her and I found out she had made varsity I was so happy,” Caroline said. “It was different because I was one either watching her or being an assistant coach during her rec, so it was really exciting.”
The sisters were looking forward to being on the same team again in the 2020 spring season, this time in Jenna’s dominant sport, lacrosse. Liberty head coach Tom Brandel said he was impressed with the team’s work ethic, and the buzz around the squad was that a deep playoff run was in the works.
But as the season was gearing up, so too was the COVID-19 pandemic. By the second week of March, many states were beginning to close down mass gatherings, including schools. During the afternoon of March 12, the rumors swirled of Maryland joining that list of states.
“We were well aware that there was going to be an announcement by Gov. [Larry] Hogan at 4 p.m.,” Brandel said. “We just had an honest conversation with the team that this would probably be our last practice.”
At that news conference, Gov. Hogan closed all schools in the state, an order that has since been extended, effectively shuttering the spring sports season for Maryland student-athletes.
Caroline Evans said she plans to attend Catholic University in Washington, D.C., this fall and continue her field hockey career. For Jenna, another season of high school lacrosse and field hockey await her at Liberty in the fall. But the what-ifs will always be there of a lacrosse season wiped away by a pandemic.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Caroline and Jenna Evans