Spring athletes adjust to a year away from their sport

Seniors who competed last as sophomores now must step up

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It’s been almost two years since the varsity baseball team took the field. Head Coach Mr. Ed Freije ’99 confers with two assistant coaches during the 2019 season at the Regional.

Luke Spencer , Sports Editor

Spring sports are back.

At about this time one year ago, everything shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that included sports. 

This was a crushing blow for all spring athletes, especially for the Class of 2020, who were hoping to have an amazing end to their high school athletic careers. But now it looks as if spring sports are going to happen, albeit with masks and social distancing. 

Practices have started  for baseball, lacrosse, track and field and women’s tennis, and in cut sports, athletes are preparing for tryouts in order to make the team. 

However, for all spring sports, there will be an adjustment to getting back to competing. The lack of senior leadership will be a challenge for all teams, as the last time that the Class of 2021 competed in the spring, they were sophomores. Since most sophomores do not compete on the varsity level as 10th graders, there will be little varsity experience on the spring sports teams. 

For the women’s tennis team, this lack of leadership will have an especially big effect. According to Head Coach Mr. Mark Noe, there are no seniors on this year’s team with any varsity experience. Noe said, “Leadership will take time,” as these seniors will have to get used to playing at the varsity level, just like the rest of the team.

Noe said, “These players have not been to a big match, but you know, you learn as you go.” It will be up to Noe and the other coaches to prepare their players for varsity competition. Noe said, “ (I will) just try to keep them calm, and you’ve got to be able to adjust yourself during the match.”

These players have not been to a big match, but you know, you learn as you go.”

— Women's tennis Head Coach Mr. Mark Noe

On the other hand, some teams have experience at the varsity level already. Both the women’s softball team and the men’s baseball team have returning starters from two years ago. The baseball team has three seniors who played on varsity as sophomores. The softball team has three seniors and one junior with experience at the varsity level, including senior and starting pitcher Lisa Burnell, who has helped to lead the team to Sectional and Regional championships in past years. The leadership that these seniors provide will be crucial to the team’s success. 

Assistant Coach Mrs. Linda Bamrick said, “We want them to show the younger players what it takes to be part of a championship program.” The softball seniors are motivated by the cancellation of last year’s season and hope to lead the team on a State tournament run. She said, “Our team motto this season which was decided by our seniors is ‘Unfinished Business.’ We really felt that we had all the components to compete for a State championship last season, and were heartbroken that our season was cancled.”

Partially as a result of the lack of games, meets and matches last March, April and May, many spring sports are seeing an increase in the number of students trying out this year. According to Noe, there were 70 athletes who went out for women’s tennis this year, compared to the usual 55 to 60, and since tennis is no-cut, all 70 will be on a roster. Noe will deal with the increase in players by scheduling more practice times in order to get everyone on the court. 

The softball team has also seen a jump in interest among underclassmen. Bamrick said, “Our number of freshmen and sophomores has increased a little this year.” Despite the increase in numbers, though, softball plans to have no cuts this year. 

Covid-19 had a great impact on spring sports last year, but that was in the past. Now, spring athletes and coaches are ready to get back to competing.