Sports are cloaked in numbers of all kinds, from batting averages and shooting percentages to final scores and wins and losses. In the wake of COVID-19 forcing a cancellation for all springtime UIL high school sports sports, one interesting footnote will be how streaks of consecutive playoff appearances are viewed.
For the next few years, with the pandemic fresh in the public’s minds, it will be remembered why the numbers might not add up.
But as time goes on, some might look back on a program’s history with a puzzled look as to why an established, sustained streak has a missing playoff berth in 2020.
For the record, it would be-hard pressed to believe anybody would argue against the fact that softball and baseball teams will not have the early ends to their seasons held against them in terms of streaks.
Some area soccer teams were already able to extend their notable runs in terms of qualifying for the playoffs, while others were a mere win away from doing the same.
One team already assured a postseason berth was the Marcus boys, who have been as consistent as any program in the state when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs. Having already clinched both a postseason spot and the outright District 6-6A championship when play was halted, the Marauders extended their string of playoff berths to 28 consecutive years — a streak that dates all the way back to 1993.
Just as impressive is the damage done by Marcus when the postseason begins, having played on to the area round 20 times over that span.
Far and away the longest active playoff streak among Lewisville ISD’s soccer programs, the Marauders aren’t alone in their run of dominance on the pitch — entrenched in a school district that annually produces a deep run or two in the soccer postseason.
While Hebron, Flower Mound or Lewisville might lack an active double-digit streak of appearances, their consistency isn’t far off — the Hebron girls, in line to clinch a fourth straight postseason berth, have made the playoffs 18 of the past 19 years. The Marcus girls, meanwhile, have cracked the end-season tournament four straight years and 20 of the past 21 overall.
The Plano West girls have conjured a similar consistency over the years, having made the playoffs all but once in the the past 20 years. The Lady Wolves’ three straight postseason appearances also doubles as the longest active run among Plano ISD’s six soccer programs.
The Allen girls, meanwhile, have been immersed in a productive run of their own over the past decade with seven consecutive postseason appearances to their name, highlighted by a state semifinal run last season. The Lady Eagles had already extended that figure to eight this season before play was cancelled.
But whereas a handful of soccer teams can claim that a postseason spot would have been theirs, baseball and softball programs aren’t as fortunate. Most softball districts hadn’t completed their first week of play before the UIL’s mid-March suspension was issued and the majority of baseball districts were still a few days away from beginning their respective conference schedules.
That means gaudy postseason softball streaks like Flower Mound, which sits at a whopping 14 consecutive years, or double-digit appearance runs for Plano Senior (13 years) and Lovejoy (11 years), will have to wait until 2021.
The Lady Jaguars’ streak doubles as the school’s longest active run, a title that used to belong to their counterparts on the baseball diamond. Having made the playoffs all but once since 2001 — the lone miss coming in 2018 — Flower Mound’s baseball and softball programs have combined for 29 playoff appearances since 2004.
Whereas the Jaguars reignited their playoff success last season after missing out the year prior, Plano’s baseball team was hoping to pen a similar script after having an eight-year streak snapped in 2019.
Others, like Marcus baseball, Allen baseball, Lovejoy baseball, Marcus softball and Hebron softball, all have three-year playoff streaks in progress that have been accompanied by plenty of success. The Marauders and Eagles, in particular, have made productive use of their time in the postseason with a combined five regional quarterfinal appearances over the past three seasons.
Meanwhile, programs like Lewisville boys soccer or R.L. Turner baseball were anxious to build their own postseason tradition. Prior to the cancellation of their season, the Farmers had secured just their second playoff berth since 1999, while Turner was denied a chance at building off its first postseason appearance since 1989.