COVID-19 sidelines student athletes

KSHSAA officially calls off spring sports season

Gloves+up%2C+junior+John+Green+keeps+his+eyes+focused+as+he+punches+through+the+target.+%22It+was+a+lot+of+work+on+our+shoulders%2C%22+said+Green%2C+%22We+had+to+keep+our+hands+up+the+entire+time.%22+Sports+teams+had+put+in+weeks+of+conditioning+and+wrap+up+tryouts+before+the+season+was+canceled+this+week+because+of+COVID-19.

Carly Cooper

Gloves up, junior John Green keeps his eyes focused as he punches through the target. "It was a lot of work on our shoulders," said Green, "We had to keep our hands up the entire time." Sports teams had put in weeks of conditioning and wrap up tryouts before the season was canceled this week because of COVID-19.

By Cuyler Dunn, Reporter

The Kansas State High School Activities Assocation’s heavily anticipated decision in response to the coronavirus pandemic came at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, cancelling all spring athletics and activities. The announcement ended many sports seasons before they had begun. 

After Gov. Laura Kelly closed all Kansas school buildings for the rest of the school year, many feared that the spring sports seasons would quickly follow suit. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, more and more preventative action is being taken by national, state and local officials to try to stop the spread of the virus.

“The KSHSAA recognizes the value of school activities for all students and school communities,” said KSHSAA in a full statement regarding COVID-19, “but the current situation does not permit the opportunity for school activities to take place in a manner that is consistent with the very reason school activities exist.”

The statement was devastating for many seniors who lost their last opportunity to play for Lawrence High.

“I was with my friend who is also a baseball player and we were both in shock,” senior Jake Miller said. “We really couldn’t believe our senior year came to an end like this. We were sad right away but the real pain was that night. Having a phone call with coach Stoll and texting all the players was really hard.”

Baseball coach Brad Stoll echoed the sadness felt during the initial moments after the announcement.

“This is awful,” baseball coach Brad Stoll said. “Senior year taken away by something out of their control. Called and cried with each of them.”

The decision applied statewide and affected students of all sports for the spring season. This included the LHS track team, which had won back-to-back state titles before this year.

“When I heard that sports were cancelled, I was devastated,” senior Asjah Harris said. “Being on the track team at LHS meant everything to me. I made new friends during track and also got close to my coach.”

Some athletes will continue to play their sports in college while for others the cancellation ended their athletic careers. Harris has committed to run at Prairie View A&M, while Miller will play at Northeast Texas Community College. 

“Being a Chesty Lion means everything to me,” Miller said. “If I were to be given one wish it would be to go out there for one more season and represent Lawrence High School and my brothers on the field. Not being able to wear ‘Lawrence’ across my chest really hurts. This program has really shaped me into the person I am today.”