Fall Sports Roundup


When the new school year started, athletes wondered what exactly sports would look like. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the spring sports season, and with case numbers only increasing in many parts of the U.S., the school district was forced to start all sports with a limited capacity number. However, this didn’t phase local supporters and students, as high turnouts were seen in almost every sporting event Nixa had to offer. The simple reason for this was that Nixa had amazing teams this year.
From the football team’s dream season under coach John Perry to volleyball’s run at defending its state title, this was yet another year to be proud to be a Nixa Eagle. With that in mind, Wingspan would like to showcase the teams that faced adversity, the safety protocols and kept the winning expectations alive at Nixa High School during the fall sports season.
The Nixa Eagles’ volleyball team finished the year 33-4 and placed second in the Class 5 State Championship. After winning it all last year in Class 4, expectations were high, which senior Kendall Pratt can attest to.
“Coming into this year, no one thought we’d be back after losing six seniors,” Pratt said. “But we pushed and tried to show them that we are who we are and we can do the same thing no matter how many players we lost.”
The loss of those players led to a bit of a slow start, but after more practices, the team rolled until that last game, which Pratt believes led to a big surprise after losing the last game of the season.
“We hadn’t really had a chance to experience a huge loss like this before, so overall we were just trying to figure out how to overcome the deviation as a team,” Pratt said. “On the bus ride back home though, we came to realize that only four teams got the chance to compete for a state title in our class and it is a huge honor and accomplishment for us to have been one of them.”
As Pratt leaves the team for college, she knows that the team will be back next year to compete at the same level.
“The program is set up for great success next year and I have a feeling the team will make it very far,” Pratt said. “This was one of the best parts of my life and I can’t wait to see how far the team will grow in the next few years.”
One player on the team that is expected to play a bigger role as she progresses through the program in the coming year is sophomore Hillary Estes. She believes, like Pratt, that the team will only get better next year.
“Earning the opportunity to compete this year gave us a lot of confidence that we can do anything, so I think that that will carry over to next year and we will perform really well,” Estes said. “Our coaches always put us in the best position to win.”
After the last game of the season, Estes said that the postgame speech from the coaches made her feel much better about what next year will look like.
“[The coaches] said we are moving on to the next big thing,” Estes said. “Seniors going on to college and underclassmen moving up to the next level. And next year, that title is going to be ours.”
One sport that saw many different changes throughout the year, but still managed to have a great season, was the boys’ soccer team. The team started the year 8-9 but rattled off seven straight wins before losing to Ozark in the sectional playoffs in overtime 2-1 to finish the year at a record of 15-10. Senior Bryce Richmond said that the ending to the season was disappointing, but he was proud of what the team turned into when it was all said and done.
“The team this year found a way to win through diversity,” Richmond said. “Winning in life isn’t simply a given thing. One must work extremely hard to be successful. And I felt we did just that.”
Soccer was one of the programs across Missouri to have games either canceled or had players out because of COVID-19, but they were lucky enough to have good all-around depth, something Richmond found as a clear positive.
“Our goalie Nick Reid got sick and missed four games, but Landon Myers was able to fill in for him,” Richmond said.“And we were really lucky and only missed one game the whole year.”
Richmond believes that the team he’s on will only get better and be ready to go for next year.
“The team will be very strong next year,” Richmond said. “There’s a good group of juniors and sophomores that should provide a lot of opportunities for the Nixa Eagles soccer team next year.”
And finally, one team that in many ways shocked the state and many highschool sports reporters in Missouri was the rise of the Nixa football team. After finishing 5-6 last season and a coaching change, not much was expected from this year’s group in terms of competing for a state championship — especially since it was revealed after the final game of this year that the quarterback Reid Potts played the entire season on a torn ACL suffered in the summer.
“We had a practice and I was running to the left and I blew out my knee,” Potts said. “We didn’t really know what happened yet until we went to the doctor.”
For many athletes, an ACL tear means the end of their season, or even in some cases their careers, but Potts was certain he wasn’t going to miss his senior season, and he says that Coach Perry helped him through every step of the way.
“Coach Perry told me that he’s had players in the past play with knee injuries,” Potts said. “So I braced it up, waited a bit so the swelling could go down and started to be able to run again. At that point, I knew I wanted to play.”
Potts ended up playing, and as the captain of the team, he led the Eagles to a 9-3 record and an opportunity to play in the district championship game, where their season ultimately ended. But to Potts, even the thought that Nixa could have this far is a testament to just how impactful Coach Perry truly is to the team.
“We only had Coach Perry for half of the offseason this year,” Potts said. “I can imagine what’s going to happen this year as he’s going to have the full year to prepare the guys.”
These three sport programs made history this year, and everyone in Nixa is extremely proud, of not just the individuals mentioned in this article, but everyone that made this fall sports season possible. Everyone across the city wishes the seniors on these teams luck as they move on to bigger dreams and wish nothing but the best to everyone who participated in the 2020-21 NHS fall sports season.