Disappointing, sad and frustrating were the first words out of many seniors from Carson, Douglas and Dayton High Schools after finding out the spring sports season had been canceled Thursday due to COVID-19.
A few of those athletes are fortunate enough to be able to continue competing in college, but for many they’ve run in their last meet or swung the bat for the final time.
While seniors across the area raved about their overall athletic careers and what sports has meant to them as individuals, all of them are left wondering what could have been?
Some are stuck without a memory of what a final Senior Night
would have felt like or even a photo to commemorate the final day of school.
Some are left even without a memory of their last day of school.
The Carson High softball team had traveled to down to Las
Vegas for a tournament when the suspension first broke March 16 and Bella
Kordonowy says she doesn’t even remember her final day inside Carson High.
“I don’t remember the last day of school. Nobody told me it
would be the last day,” said Kordonowy, a senior who will play softball at the
University of Nevada next year. “I don’t even know what I did that day.”
Douglas senior Austin Grant, who tore his ACL as a junior, had banked on his senior season making up for missed action in the previous year.
“Since I couldn’t play last year it kind of hit a little
harder. I’ve been playing with these kids my whole life. I took everything for
granted and it got taken away my junior year, but at least I have my senior
year,” said Grant, who will play baseball at York College (York, Neb.) next
year. “Then I took that for granted too because now that’s gone.”
“My first thought was kind of shock,” said Carson High’s
Zach Sever. “I wasn’t too happy about it with it being my senior year of track
When sports first
When the season was first postponed Monday, March 16 many area competitors tried to find the best coping mechanism available – athletics.
However, self-motivation is something people spend their entire lives trying to master.
Treating the downtime like an offseason in order to stay in shape was the mindset of some, but without the ability to train alongside teammates due to social distancing guidelines, the grind to continue pushing was a hurdle.
“Not going to lie, I was super sad about it,” said Carson High
senior Annika Wick, who was competing for the track and field team. “I didn’t
really keep up with anything. I didn’t go out that much. I didn’t really work
out that much.”
The escapism of athletics still fanned the flame for seniors like Carson’s Gilbert Polanco-Vasquez, who said running has always been a way to clear his head – in season or out of season.
“I didn’t feel like doing anything, I just wanted to go and
run,” said Polanco-Vasquez. “It just takes a lot of stuff off my mind, that’s
why I run track and it helps me build something as who I am.”
on themselves and passing on advice to those below
Even with losing most, if not all, of their final season, seniors from around the area found ways to reflect on what their time in competition had meant to them.
Missing their final season of competition didn’t detract from any overall experiences.
“It’s been amazing,” said Carson senior track athlete Taryn
Encinas. “I wasn’t ever expecting to participate in any school sport because
I’ve always been a competitive dancer. So, to go out there and just learn more
about myself and push myself in a different focus and environment, overall I
think it helped me grow as an individual.”
Dayton High senior Peter Miklich had a chance to look back
fondly on taking advantage of nearly three sport seasons each year and all the friends
he made along the way.
“Not just about teamwork and goal setting, but how to push
yourself and how to work with people,” said Miklich. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot
of people so there’s just lots of good lessons and examples. It’s been really
Reflection is a powerful tool and everyone that expressed disappointment in losing a season followed up with counsel to those who still have a chance to come back and take advantage of another high school season.
“Always do your best. Don’t slack like I did,” said Carson
senior Garritt Benavidez. “Don’t take it for granted. It goes by too fast.”
“Run every race like its your last. You don’t know when you will have your last race,” said Hannah Kaiser, a four-year letter winner for the Senators’ track and field team.
Nobody will be able to give the outgoing seniors one last
taste of what high school competition will feel like.
The bitter taste of a season cut short without warning will remain, but the lessons taken away from the disappointment will last a lifetime.