NEW CASTLE, Ind. (WISH) — On March 7, the New Castle Gymnastics team was only minutes away from their Regional competition when the bus carrying the team was involved in a head-on collision.
“We weren’t expecting it. We were all asleep, and we thought it was going to be a good day to compete and everything,” said New Castle freshman Madison Bell.
Junior Samantha Ward remembers the moment of impact.
”I was asleep and I just remember falling out of my seat and then I kept sliding,” Ward said.
“Then we hit a tree and everyone woke up and was like, ‘Where are we? What is happening?'” said senior Taylor Snell.
Those were the moments the New Castle gymnasts’ postseason was derailed for the first time.
“They were pretty set on, ‘I don’t think you guys are going to compete’ and I was like, ‘really?’ I just wanted us to be given our shot,” Ward remembers, arriving at the site of their Regional competition hours after the accident.
“That was our thing. We’re going to go out here and be the team that pushes through and makes it,” said Snell.
After some deliberation, the IHSAA decided to give the New Castle team some time to rest and postponed the Regional competition to Monday evening.
A couple of days later, the Trojans made their way back to Regionals.
When New Castle finally got back on the mat, they qualified for the State Finals for just the second time in program history.
But their excitement faded pretty quickly when not even 24 hours later, nearly every other sporting event around the world was canceled or postponed due to growing concerns around the COVID-19 virus.
”It was scary. I thought it was for sure getting canceled,” Ward added, “I thought after the crash, Monday, everything, we weren’t going to get our chance. I was like, ‘man we worked so hard and we don’t get to experience this now.'”
Instead they took part in more history as the IHSAA State Gymnastics Meet took place Saturday afternoon, as the lone sporting event in the state of Indiana. New Castle finally got their shot.
“I want people to remember that you can do whatever you want. It doesn’t matter if your team hasn’t won state in 18 years or something crazy happens to you, you can still push through,” said Snell.
”I’m so proud of my team, they persevered through things you couldn’t have even imagined, but they did. We did it,” Ward said.