Special Newman Catholic senior group reflects after abrupt end to careers

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW)- In their third straight trip to the Resch Center for the girls’ basketball state tournament, Newman Catholic was looking for their first gold ball since 2011.

Newman Catholic players and coaches sit together after returning from the state tournament. At Newman Catholic High School in Wausau, Wisconsin, on March 13, 2020. (WSAW)

But before they ever had a chance to take the floor in Green Bay, some of their players found out they had already played the final games of their career.

"It's hard, because it's not the ending we wanted."

The ending the Newman Catholic Lady Cardinals wanted, was a state championship, led by a special senior class that had the talent and experience to pull it off.

"It didn't really sink in until we were able to go to the Resch Center today and take the floor one last time,” said Julia Seidel, Newman senior guard.

They couldn't play a game on the Resch Center hardwood one last time, but the team was able to do their senior sendoff together.

"We got to like walk off the court as if it was our last game, and like hug and thank our coaches,” said Kimberly Cummings, Newman senior guard. “Like that was really emotional, but I also think it was really necessary."

"That was just kind of the closure that we needed,” said Seidel.

State title or not, Newman's six seniors left an imprint on the program that can be traced back nearly a decade.

"I think it all comes back down to like starting this program as fourth and fifth graders,” said Jaida Heinz, Newman senior guard. “It's been really neat to see all of us grow together as a family and grow together as sisters."

The friendships and bonds between this group will last well beyond today, but this was their final day as basketball teammates, so what would they say to each other about their journey?

"You can't really forget something like this,” said Seidel. “And to know that we got through it together, and were there for each other when times got tough helps make this a lot easier."

"We're just one big family,” said Lauren Shields, Newman senior guard. “That's something that we should remember, is that we'll always be here for each other."

"I wouldn't change anything,” Cummings said. “Because I just love you guys so much."