The 2A State Track & Field Championships will be held in Gurdon, practically all day long on Wednesday, beginning at 10:30 in the morning. Parkers Chapel will be there until the end and then will travel to Horatio on Thursday morning to open play in the 2A South Regional Softball Tournament at 10 a.m.
That’s a whole lot of running, jumping and throwing in a very brief span of time.
PC softball coach Miranda Carlisle didn’t make the schedule. She’s confident the schedule won’t break the Lady Trojans, who take on Poyen with a berth in the 2A State Softball Tournament on the line.
“I think, honestly, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think in the long run, it’s going to help. I have no doubt they’re going to do great at track. That momentum of doing so well is going to carry into Thursday. Yes, I think they’re going to be tired and a little worn down. But that’s only going to make them push harder on Thursday,” said Carlisle.
“I’m going to do everything I can to take care of them Wednesday night and Thursday morning, make sure they’re rested and iced down. But I think when they perform well on Wednesday, it’s going to carry over into Thursday.”
After the track meet, the Lady Trojans will stay in Texarkana before heading to Horatio on Thursday morning.
PC will be the No. 1 seed with a 14-9 record. The Lady Indians enter as a fourth seed with an 11-12 mark in the 2A-7.
“I’ve gotten to find out a little bit about them. It’s going to be a good game. I don’t have a whole lot of information but that might be a good thing for us,” she said. “I think there’s a chance of us trying to go in overprepared sometimes. At this point, every team we face is going to be competition. We need to go in and play our game and just put everything out on the field.”
Parkers Chapel beat Fordyce and Spring Hill on Friday and Saturday to win the 2A 8 District Tournament and followed that with a 2-0 nonconference win over Crossett on Monday.
“I think the win is helping us just keep building momentum,” said Carlisle. “Having an intense game beforehand was great. It got my other pitcher some good reps. It helped us get some more hits off pitching. It can only help us going into regionals.”
Several of the players are coming off a basketball season which saw them win the regional tournament. They’ve been in a win or go home scenario and thrived. Carlisle said she hasn’t emphasized the importance of Thursday’s game.
“We haven’t really talked about the pressure so much. Every single game, we put everything on the field. Everything you’ve got goes into every game,” she said. “I don’t want my girls putting extra pressure on themselves. I don’t think there’s a reason for it. If we do our jobs, we’re going far this season. I have no doubt my girls will get it done.”
Carlisle admitted, there’s a little extra pep in her step these days, too. She took over the softball program at PC last year but saw the season end due to the pandemic.
“I’m more than excited,” she said. “I’ve been waiting two years to step foot into the postseason with this group of girls with Parkers Chapel. I want us to make Parkers Chapel proud. I’m going to do everything in my power to make that happen.”
The coach pointed to the team’s seniors as the key to advancing. She doesn’t know a lot about the opponent, but Carlisle knows her team.
“I just keep telling my girls, it doesn’t matter who steps out on that field. It doesn’t matter what time we’ve got to go. Control what you can control. Get it done,” she said.
“I think my seniors stepping up as the leaders they are, keeping my team alive, keeping them going, keeping them encouraged and then us bringing the focus and the intensity. Those will be the keys for our game. I’m excited. I’m ready to go. I know my girls are excited. We don’t care who’s on the other side of the field. We’re coming to play. We’re coming to win.”