Madison was arguably the best Virginia Class 6 team last year, but two days before the state championship, the game was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Virginia High School League named Madison and Edison co-champions.
The Warhawks started a new season this week and dominated their first two opponents, including a 59:25 win over Lake Braddock on Wednesday.
Madison is hoping to fight for another state championship title, but losing the chance to win last season’s final state championship still anger the Warhawks.
“I’ll process this for the rest of my life,” said Stone. “I don’t know if there ever are [a time] you will feel fine “
Early last season, the Stone and Madison players knew they had the parts to fight for a national title and were focused on that goal. They went 28-1 and were one win away from their first championship since 1993.
While the Warhawks are hoping to win a state championship this season, their main goal is to play as many games as possible, knowing that the season can be canceled at any time.
“The weirdness that happened last year, we know it can happen again, so we’re 100 percent every day,” said Madison Guardian Amalia Makrigiorgos. “Every training session, every game, we play like it would be our last time on the pitch.”
The memory of the moment they learned that the state championship was canceled remains in the memory of the players. Stone gathered her players in her small office, and when she got the news, many players cried. They processed the announcement by walking around the school before taking a picture in front of the building where “20” had been added to the school’s state championship list.
“We have friends who have been to Edison and there was playful talk about trash beforehand,” said Alayna Arnolie, Madison’s guard. “We knew we were going to win, but they knew they were going to win, so we didn’t really get the score.”
Some normality from last season returned on Wednesday when Madison dominated another opponent.
But a lot has changed since the last judgment. The players wore masks, spread out in the stands instead of sitting on the bench, and applied hand sanitizer before entering the field.
Stone fears the season won’t last into February when the state championships are scheduled. However, winning a championship this season might be the only way Stone and her players can relax.