A short time after it began, the coronavirus pandemic forced the CIF to cancel the rest of the spring sports season, which meant an abrupt ending to the high school careers of spring sports seniors around the central valley. As a way of honoring some of these outstanding seniors, our Sports Central team will be presenting a series of stories called “Senior Standouts” each Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday through the end of June.
VISALIA, Calif. (KGPE) – Rylie Atherton led Central Valley Christian to a valley softball championship a year ago. She envisioned being a valley champion again this year.
“I was hoping that my spring season would be like, ‘okay, finish your high school career. It’s gonna be great. Best season yet. So fun,” she said.
Instead, Atherton has been going on walks, watching old movies and doing puzzles.
“Just really things that we have never, especially during this season, have ever done before,” said her mom, Cindy, who was also her coach at CVC. “And we decided we need to teach Rylie some life lessons, life skills also before she goes to college.
“So we’ve been doing some cooking, some baking.”
Rylie Atherton will be attending Southern Miss in the fall, a Division I school in Conference USA.
“They said they found me on this recruiting site that I barely ever looked at,” she said. “I got it my freshman year just to get it.”
Add Atherton’s freshman year to her sophomore and junior years, and what you get is a pitcher with a 1.96 ERA and more than 600 strikeouts.
“And as much as I would like to say we turn it off at home, we don’t turn it off at home,” smiles her mom/coach, Cindy. “And I am harder on her than anybody else.
“But she also knows where it comes from, too. She knows I love her.”
This season, Cindy Atherton was not going to be her daughter’s coach. Rylie Atherton transferred to Kingsburg after CVC cancelled its season because it did not have enough players (nothing to do with COVID-19). But then CVC ended up having a team, which meant Atherton had to sit out a handful of games at Kingsburg.
While she was sitting out, the coronavirus forced the season to be cancelled. So Rylie Atherton has not played at all in 2020.