Coronavirus Strikes Out Senior Spring Sports Season


Mateo Membreno

Senior banners sit on the empty Hubbard Field because the coronavirus has ended all spring sports seasons.


   100 career hits in a high school softball season is a milestone many softball players strive to achieve. Senior Callaway Wells had 96 hits before the break. With almost half of her season still left, it looked almost certain she would achieve her goal of 100. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, her season was cut short, and she fell just 4 hits from her goal.

   “It doesn’t really happen a lot and I know I would have gotten it,” Wells said. 

   In high school sports, an athlete’s senior season is usually the most important and memorable because of the hard work invested throughout high school and events like Senior Night. However, the coronavirus pandemic stripped away the spring season for the spring athletes in the Class of 2020. Many spring sports and individual athletes were working towards goals or were already having career seasons, but those have been cut short.

   The varsity boys’ and girls’ tennis teams were on their way to a very successful postseason. The girls had a 9-2 season before the break, and the boys were undefeated with an 8-0 record.

   “I think the boys were pretty much a lock to win the district, and the girls had a shot at winning district but almost a lock for runner-up,” Varsity Boys and Girls Tennis head coach Richard Babyak said. 

   Many seniors who had set goals for themselves will never feel the satisfaction of achieving them.

   “I personally have a girl who I’ve been rivals with ever since middle school,” senior varsity tennis player Annabelle Lawton said. “I really wanted the chance to beat her this season and now I’ll never know, so it’s kind of a bummer.”

   The varsity track and field team were also expecting to have a successful postseason. Some senior athletes were even looking to contend at states.

   “I’m looking at Madison McGuire in track who went to the state track meet last year as a junior and was hoping to get to the state meet again and stand on the podium as a senior,” Varsity Track and Field Assistant Coach Sarah Hill said.

   Senior Madison McGuire was unable to achieve her goals due to the pandemic. McGuire said that she was 0.3 seconds off from beating the school 100-meter dash record.

   “That was my big goal, but now I won’t be able to do that,” McGuire said. 

   Senior David Manning said he was looking forward to Senior Night and some big meets scheduled at UF and FSU. Manning also had a goal of breaking 4:20 in the mile and 9:30 in the 2-mile run. 

   “Me and my teammates have been working pretty hard for months, some even years, for important track meets such as the state meet, and big meets we were looking forward to,” Manning said. 

   Varsity boys’ weightlifting was looking to make history and bring home the school’s first district title. According to Varsity Boys Weightlifting Head Coach Isiah Cabal, this was most likely going to happen as, before the break, the Saints finished 1st in all weight classes, defeating Lake Highland Prep 73-8.

   “A lot of us were getting really really strong, we were peaking at the right time,” Cabal said. “We were in a good spot.” 

   One senior in particular who was having a breakout season, Michael Finkelstein, said he wanted to beat 2019 alumnus Spencer Newman’s bench record and was looking forward to the support shown at Senior Night. Finkelstein said he had a legitimate shot at states this year and was working hard towards that big goal. 

   “A guy like Michael Finkelstein has been crushing it… he’s one of those guys I really want to model the rest of our team after,” Cabal said. “If you want to be strong like Mike, you got to lift all year round. I’ve seen all kinds of really good progress from him.”

   One big event the senior athletes are always excited about is Senior Night because it is a night dedicated to them and to recognize the hard work they’ve put into their high school career. However this year, the spring senior athletes could be sent off without a proper Senior Night.

   “We have a tradition of going really big and having a really big party after and that’s not going to happen now,” Wells said.

   However, Athletic Director David Langdon has been meeting with the FHSAA to come up with something for the seniors. Langdon and other schools have also talked about holding a tournament with a couple of teams just to get the senior athletes playing one more time. This would be for all spring sports. In the meantime, Langdon said the athletic office is being proactive and creative by recognizing the spring senior athletes through social media. 

   “We just want to get our kids and recognize them one more time,” Langdon said. “That way, they can get some closure instead of playing a game on a Thursday and the next day, all of a sudden, finding out your season is canceled.”

   Although the social media publicity will allow the seniors to publicly thank their parents and supporters, nothing can replace the actual culmination of a season and the attainment of one’s goals. 

   “Knowing that I won’t be able to achieve my personal goals is really sad, but for my team, I’m just sad for the others because we had a lot going for us,” Wells said.