MURFREESBORO—Thursday’s TSSAA Class A State Semifinal matchup marked the end of the Cosby High Lady Eagles’ season.
Although the team won’t be coming back with a gold ball after making the program’s first ever state tournament appearance, it still won’t be returning empty.
What the Lady Eagles accomplished in 2019 was so much more than history on the field.
Save for the first region title in program history, the first state tournament appearance in program history, and the first victory in a state tournament setting for any Cosby athletic program since 2000. This group earned the respect they had longed for since the inception of the program.
From a statewide perspective, not many have a clue who Cosby is, or where it’s located. Westview students spelling it as ‘Crosby’ as the team vacated for this week’s tournament was evident enough of that.
However, this week many learned at least a little about the proud small town community, but also the humble beginnings of the school’s soccer program.
April Hillary Griffin started the program in 2005. She took a leap of faith in starting the program, breaking the school from the co-op program it was in with Cocke County High School.
In the beginning, things were tough. The team didn’t win many games, and struggled to compete with most teams on its schedule. The program could’ve easily folded and dissolved back into a co-op program with CCHS, but they stuck it out and grew as a result.
There probably weren’t many that would’ve predicted a season such as this happening, but the fact that it did showed the dedication put in and the decision paid off.
The Lady Eagles not only earned respect from a statewide perspective, but locally as well.
For years Cosby has been revered as a basketball school. While that’s not going to change anytime soon, as basketball holds a significant importance to the community, the same support and respect was shown in a big way to the soccer program in this season’s journey.
The sectional round matchup to get to the state tournament drew a football-like crowd, and many of those same supporters made the trip this week to see the team compete in Murfreesboro. It wasn’t just an acknowledgement of the players on the field, but of the program as a whole.
The Lady Eagles had been on the cusp of making a year like 2019 happen the last two years. They’ve had a strong support system all along the way, but the entire community took notice of their accomplishments this season which made them all the more special.
What happens from here is unknown. The program loses valuable senior leadership, such as line backers Kylie Hall, Allianna Ball, Maggie Humphrey and midfielder Montgomery Webb. What won’t be lost is the recognition they helped bring to the team with their tireless work and effort over the last four years.
Starting from scratch 14 years ago, the Cosby girls’ soccer program has not only elevated itself to a championship caliber program, but earned the respect of its peers along the way.
Although a state title would have been nice, you can’t put a price on that.