Spring sports cancelled: what it means to seniors

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By Elena Schmidt, Staff Reporter

All spring sports were canceled as ’Stoga closed its doors on Friday, March 13, following Gov. Tom Wolf’s orders to shut down the day before. 

Officials gradually extended the lockdown due to COVID-19, and canceled the remaining winter championships and the entire spring sports season. It is still uncertain whether the fall season will also be impacted. While athletes across the board were disappointed to hear that their games were cancelled and their group training and had ended, seniors were especially heartbroken to find out that their last season at ’Stoga was over.  

Senior Claire Overton has been playing softball since kindergarten and was looking forward to her last high school season. She had a fantastic season the year before, as the team made it to the state tournament for the first time in 12 years.  

“(I was) excited to continue and bring that excitement and momentum from last year to this year, with all the underclassmen that are filling all the positions,” Overton said. “I’m missing playing with all of them and seeing everybody and having all the senior activities but also the games.”  

However, she was glad to have played well in the last two softball scrimmages of the season. Overton is optimistic about the future and grateful to have more seasons ahead of her at Emerson College. 

While she knows the importance of practice, she has been finding it more challenging to train by herself. “I think my motivation has fluctuated a little bit, being stuck at home. I’m less motivated to go out and do stuff, but I also need to stay in a good rhythm. I need to stay good and get all those fundamentals continued so when we do go back, I’m not behind everybody else,” Overton said. 

As Overton reflected on her high school and athletic career, she noted the value of appreciating aspects of daily life. 

“You don’t know when your last game is. Always play like it’s your last, because a global pandemic could occur and everything could be gone, (and) you never know when you’re going to get injured. You should always play to your best, (and) don’t take anything for granted.” 

Senior lacrosse player Michael Prestipino is also disappointed that his last year at ’Stoga was cut short, having looked forward to it for four years. He trains for lacrosse year-round, and misses practicing with his team. While he is eager to play on scholarship at the University of Virginia, there are days when Prestipino also lacks motivation to train, since his next official season is still a few months away. For now, Prestipino is making do with the limited options he has to train. 

“Now, pretty much everything’s closed — I was going to the track a lot but now even the track got closed. So basically, the only stuff I can do is run around my neighborhood or lift weights in my basement, but I can’t go to the gym anymore or to any fields and run. The training has been limited but at least I’m still able to get some stuff in,” Prestipino said. 

Like Overton, Prestipino encourages others, especially underclassmen, to enjoy high school and its sports seasons while they last, knowing how quickly time goes by. 

“I guess you never know when your last practice is going to be, or your last day of school — like that random Thursday. Think about how lucky you are to have what you have before it’s gone,” Prestipino said. “Don’t get to your senior year and realize (that) everything’s done, like your last game, and all that. Just think of it beforehand, how lucky you are to be in this situation, (to have) more games.” 

Closed for the season: Conestoga’s spring track team is one of many that will be unable to compete this year due to stay at home orders.

While fall sports have not been cancelled, their current status is still in question. Richard Hawkins, a teacher and cross-country coach at ’Stoga, is trying to remain optimistic that the upcoming season will take place. Though he is planning for a normal season, he is taking potential obstacles of social distancing into account as well.  

“If there (are) limitations on gathering the number of kids, which it sounds like there might be, I might have to have several practices so the numbers are lower. I guess that’s the way I would think about it: staggering practices,” Hawkins said.  

Hawkins agrees that gathering the motivation to train is more difficult when training individually. Hawkins acknowledges this, knowing that the season may be cancelled if dangerous conditions persist. 

“In cross country, there’s a lot of camaraderie among the teammates. They like working out together, stretching together — it’s a strong part of cross country. Without that, it’s going to affect (training) for sure,” Hawkins said. “You’re more driven to do the workouts if you’re there being supported by your peers and your teammates. Without that, it’s going to be a little bit harder on the athletes to be self-motivated.” 

Hawkins sympathizes with student athletes, especially for seniors, and poses an important question toward those who were going to start a sport. 

“My message to the seniors: my heart goes out to you because I get to see all the blood, sweat and tears that you put in over your high school career, and you are cheated out of your senior year. It’s very unfortunate and heartbreaking,” Hawkins said. “For the new runners that want to get into the sport, you get to test how self-motivated you can be. Can you do the training without a coach yelling at you or your teammates? You get to find out who you are. Can you be a self-disciplined athlete?” 


Elena Schmidt can be reached at [email protected]