Kim Harms was on her way home from the grocery store on April 17 when news reached her that she had been dreading to hear.


Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made the announcement that schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year. With that decision the Iowa Board of Education also announced that the high school spring sports season was cancelled.


“I wept in my car,” Harms said. “I told (my husband) Corey the last time I felt this kind of ache was cancer. Much different circumstances, but same ache.”


Harms was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. She had the cancer removed with surgery that year and is currently undergoing a 10-year prescription of hormone therapy to keep it from coming back.


Harms and her family — Corey and three boys Carter, Owen and Lewis — went through a difficult time after she was diagnosed. But they persevered and were inching closer to celebrating Carter’s graduation from Ballard when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.


“I might think we’re not as bad off as so and so, and that may be true,” Harms said. “But that doesn’t change the fact that this is a heartbreaking loss. And it’s a loss for every senior and every senior parent.”


Missing out on prom, graduation and all the grad parties is a tough enough pill to swallow. But it also robbed Carter of his final season of tennis.


“I was devastated when I heard the news,” Carter said. “I knew in the back of my mind that we weren’t going to get the season we expected, so I was prepared. But it was still tough.”


Tennis has been the specialty sport for Carter and his fellow senior and doubles teammate Logan Gogerty. They are not year-round athletes or involved in any of the big spectator sports.


“I was a part of the National Honor Society and that’s about it,” Carter said. “Most of my extracurricular time was focused on tennis.”


Both Carter and Gogerty began playing the game as freshmen.


“I originally started playing freshman year only because all of my friends were going out for it,” Gogerty said. “Little did I know that it would end up being the only sport I played for the rest of high school and that I would end up really enjoying it.”


They quickly formed a bond with each other on the court.


“Carter Harms and I put in a lot of time on the courts together,” Gogerty said. “Anytime one of us wanted to play, we would almost always contact the other person. It created a sense of accountability, and it really helped us grow as doubles partners due to our awareness of each other’s playing styles.”


By their sophomore season, they were starting to make some noise.


“They got matched up together, and I really liked how they played and interacted while on the court,” Ballard head boys’ tennis coach Matt Fjelland said. “I knew they were great friends and enjoyed playing doubles as a team.”


As juniors they entered the varsity rotation for a growing Ballard program that was emerging as a major player in Class 1A.


“Matches have ups and downs throughout, and watching them play and seeing how calm they both are and being able to move on to the next point was a big part of their success,” Fjelland said. “Also, they are both very athletic and cover the court and both do a great job at finishing at the net. They really are an intimidating duo and were primed to make a lot of noise at the top of our lineup this year.”


Last season Carter ended up 9-1 in doubles matches and 6-2 in singles play and Gogerty was 8-1 and 8-3 respectively. They helped Ballard go 13-2 as a team.


“Being a grade below one of the best classes of players Ballard tennis has had, it was an amazing experience to be able to play alongside them,” Gogerty said. “I am really glad I was the age I was so that I had the ability to practice and play with them in meets.”


The duo was ready to help carry on the tradition this season.


“I would have thought they would both be in the top three to start the year for singles and probably our No. 1 doubles team,” Fjelland said. “We would have leaned on them pretty hard throughout the year. As returning letter winners, and both consistently being on the varsity last year, our team would have looked at them as our senior leaders.”


Both players put in a lot of work to get to that point.


“During the school year I was training two to three times a week to prepare for next season’s challenges,” Carter said. “My mom knew how much I loved playing tennis and understood when I missed dinner some nights to train for more hours.”


Which made the season’s cancelation that much harder for everyone to grasp.


“(My wife) Jennifer fought back tears all day at work when she found out,” Gogerty’s father Andrew said. “I felt nauseous, like you feel when something significant has just been taken away from you. We had been anticipating this season and looking forward to it ever since the substate loss (to Norwalk) a year ago. It took a solid three days to start getting over it. It still stings.”


Faith helped Kim Harms get through her fight with cancer. She is counting on it once again.


“One thing I know is that every hard thing I’ve gone through in my life has grown me in some way and caused me to trust God more and my own false sense of control less,” she said. “My hope and prayer is that this incredibly hard season of life will grow Carter and Logan in ways that wouldn’t have been possible without it.”


Her son plans on taking her words to heart.


“My mom teaching me life lessons in the years after she beat breast cancer has helped me so much,” Carter said. “This has taught me that when one thing that is very important to you is taken away, move your energy to the other things that are important to you.”


Carter will attend Iowa State next fall and major in actuarial science. Gogerty will attend Faith Baptist Bible College studying organizational leadership