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Pandemic ends McCormick’s final season at Carroll College

By Thomas Ranson lvnsports@yahoo.com
Fallon grad Megan McCormick, who was playing in her final season of softball at Carroll College when the pandemic forced the season to be stopped, relied on her parents' (pictured are Tom and Missy) support during her career.
Photo provided by Megan McCormick

It was only a few weeks ago when her mother traveled to Montana to visit as Megan McCormick crossed another milestone off her college experience. 

Since that visit when she was having her senior photos done against the beautiful landscape of Carroll College in Helena, her world turned upside down in unpredictable fashion. 

McCormick’s final softball season at Carroll College was cut short after barely a month of games. All her schooling was converted to online only. And graduation was moved from May to December.

Because of the COVID-19 disease altering plans, seemingly every day, McCormick, along with thousands of college (and high school) seniors, was affected both in the classroom and on the field.

The sports season was suspended and then canceled but the NAIA said that spring sports seniors are eligible to come back next year to finish their career. McCormick, though, won’t be able to take advantage because she will be returning to the Silver State to start her master’s degree in education. 

“I was very upset when the suspension happened because I didn’t know my last game was my last game,” the 2016 Fallon grad said. “I won’t get the opportunity to celebrate a senior night with the six other seniors now either because of the suspension.”

This year’s Saints softball team, which made the Cascade Conference Tournament the last two years, appeared poised early to not only make the tournament again but McCormick was hopeful that they could notch a win or two. 

“But it isn’t enough for me just to make it there. I have a sour taste in my mouth because last year I believed we had the potential to win postseason games and that didn’t happen,” she said. “This year I want to do everything possible to make sure that taste isn’t there.”

Now, McCormick and her teammates will not get that chance. As she reflects on her college career coming to an abrupt end, McCormick will miss her senior teammates, who as strangers during her freshman year turned into her roommates and best friends. 

“Looking back on my career as a Saint, I won’t remember the runs scored, the at-bats or the errors, but I will remember the laughs, the memories and all the amazing women who made my experience at Carroll better than anything I could ever imagine,” she said. 

McCormick, who admitted having mixed emotions about her career ending, is excited about the next chapter in her sports career. The playing days may be over, but McCormick looks to follow in her father’s footsteps, going from playing for the Saints to coaching.

“Now that the dust has settled, I’ve come to terms with the end of my season,” said McCormick, who plans on coaching a travel team this summer before moving to Reno. “Even though I won’t be a player anymore, that doesn’t mean I will be done with my career in softball. It just means I get to start looking forward to becoming a coach and sharing the love I have for softball with a whole new generation.”

McCormick was a three-sport star during her time with the Greenwave. 

She excelled on the volleyball court under coach Patty Daum and was a key component to Anne Smith’s girls basketball program’s success as a senior, helping lay the foundation the year before Fallon started its three-title run. The diamond, though, is where McCormick found the most success when she led the Lady Wave to two state titles under coaches Bill Archer and Brad Dolan. 

Playing three sports helped McCormick prepare for Carroll College. 

Developing critical time management skills that spanned over her class schedule, homework, practices and games helped the Fallon native adapt to the college experience much easier. 

“It wasn’t as harsh of an adjustment because I was used to juggling school, volunteering, practices, open gyms,” she said. 

Her coaches also played an integral part. 

“Patty taught me the importance of working hard and knowing my role so I could be the best teammate possible,” McCormick said. 

“Coach Smith taught me how to prepare for every game and practice. She also taught me that everything you face in life, the good and the bad, are bricks in the wall that will make you who you are today. 

“Bill and Brad taught me the that there is a time and a place for fun and hard work and how to know the difference.”

And as crucial it was to have good coaches, McCormick is thankful for her family, in particular, her parents, Tom and Missy, for their sacrifices and ability to support Megan and her two brothers. Sean is in his first year at the University of Idaho and Tommy, a senior at Churchill County High School, will join his brother in the fall. 

“They were always my No. 1 fans and they always supported me in everything I did,” said McCormick. “Being 12 hours from home and having two very active brothers keeps my parents from making as many games as they would like, but they always make the sacrifice to make at least one home series and multiple away series.

“For my senior season, even though it was cut short because of the pandemic, I had at least one parent at every series. Even though my brothers are busy with sports and having all three of us kids in three different states wasn’t easy, I never felt left out or forgotten because I was 12 hours away.

“My parents always made it a priority that no one kid was left out and I will forever cherish them and everything my parents sacrificed to make Sean, Tommy and me the best athletes and even more than that, the best people we could be.”