Spring sports at CHS in jeopardy of being cancelled

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CHS runner Casey Padgett paces behind a CV track team member during a 2019 meet. Padgett's, and other seniors playing spring sports, athletic career at CHS may be over if the spring sports season is canceled due to Covid-19.

Periscope welcomes guest writer Cheney Thompson to our site.  If you would like to be a guest writer, please email our adviser, Mrs. Muir, at [email protected]

In light of the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in the Pennsylvania area, countless places, events, and functions have been canceled. Non-essential businesses are strongly encouraged to shut down or offer take-out options only. Concerts and festivals all across the country are being canceled. Citizens of Pennsylvania are urged to stay home except to go to work, the grocery store, or exercise. Colleges have made the rest of the spring semester online-only. Perhaps one of the biggest changes is that last week, Governor Tom Wolf declared that all Pennsylvania schools must be shut down for a minimum of two weeks. One of the biggest questions remaining is this: where does this leave spring sports?

The PIAA, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, requires that school sports do not practice when school is canceled. This inevitably means that up until March 30th, when the two-week shutdown of schools is currently scheduled to be over, no spring sports are allowed to be held. This time period may progress even longer if Governor Wolf extends the two-week shutdown of schools.

“None of us can really meet in a group or get proper coaching,” sophomore track and field hurdler Eva Leatherman said. “It’s definitely detrimental to the relay, hurdlers, jumpers, and throwers.”

While coaches and athletes must respect the PIAA rules, this does not stop coaches from asking athletes to put in extra work on their own. Track and Field head coach Ed Boardman has routinely sent out emails to athletes containing workouts to complete on their own specific to each student’s event.

There are many fears circling around both athletes and coaches that the season may be canceled entirely. The Penn Relays, a historic track and field event that has never been canceled in its 125-year history, has announced that they will be canceling this event due to fear of the spread of the coronavirus.

Collegiate level sports seasons have been canceled across the nation, leaving college athletes, especially seniors, devastated and angry. Many of these colleges have granted spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility beyond the standard four years to try to help lessen the pain to these athletes.

Seniors at Carlisle High School are also feeling lots of pain and heartbreak over the potential that they may lose their final season as a high school athlete. Senior Casey Padgett, a distance runner on the track and field team, felt his emotions running high after discovering that his season was postponed.

“I think that initially, it was something that really upset me because the thought that I lose my last senior season of high school sports is something that wasn’t tangible at the time,” Padgett said. “I was upset because it’s my last time as a high schooler to go and put it all out on the track and not worry about winning or losing, but rather that I gave it my best effort. Now I’m starting to come to terms with this idea that I might lose it and while that makes me sad, I know that if I don’t have it, I left it all there last year and in my last couple sports seasons.”

Padgett won the cross country Mid-Penn race back in October of 2019, and was a district champ during his junior track season, claiming the 3200-meter title. While he is devastated to possibly not have this year to finish out his successful high school sports career, he is thankful that he will have four more years of eligibility at Duquesne University as he continues his running career there.

However, not all seniors will be continuing on in their athletic careers in college. This would have been the last season to leave their all on the field and finish out their high school career doing what they love. They may have, unknowingly, put on their uniform for the last time almost a year ago.

PIAA officials are having meetings to decide how to approach the unique situation, but have not reached an ultimate decision on how this season will play out. This uncertainty and lack of answers are frustrating to athletes and coaches alike, however, they understand that this situation is changing daily and time is needed to reach a final decision.

Athletes continue to put in work and dedication, hoping for the best. The Carlisle High School girl’s lacrosse team has been working very hard since the fall in their very long and impressive preseason. They’ve spent countless hours running to build endurance, lifting in the weight room, and training technically on the field.

Sophomore lacrosse player Mykaela Ocampo was going to enjoy her first season ever playing lacrosse, but is fearful that the hard work she has put in over the past several months may be invaluable until next season.

“We work very hard throughout preseason to play the best we can during the spring,” Ocampo said. “No team deserves for their season to be cut short.”

The lacrosse team isn’t allowed, according to PIAA rules, to meet together, which is very difficult for them since their sport is a team sport. They are still training on their own each day to stay in shape and grow in their skills to stay hopeful that they will have a season after all.

Sophomore Robert Wellmon, a highly ranked member of the boy’s tennis team, is trying to stay positive and find new ways to train.

“It’s a bummer how we aren’t able to practice with the team but with no school in session I am able to have more time to go outside and run to work on my conditioning,” Wellmon said.

There is more than just the physical aspect of sports that is valued and loved. The team aspect, regardless of whether it be a team sport or not, is essential to athletes and helps them love the sport even more.

Sophomore Melissa Pham has befriended many upperclassmen in the past two years of indoor and outdoor track. She said the possibility of this season being ripped from them “hurts especially since this is the last season I can run with some of my closest friends.”

Pham’s track friends have become some of her best friends both on and off of the track, and she is not ready to lose these important friendships now.

“It’s heartbreaking and I hope that it blows over quickly so all our teams can get back to practicing and doing what we all love,” Pham added.

Athletes all across the country are clinging to this hope that they can continue their season. They are not ready to give up their seasons yet, and have repeatedly voiced their opinions to athletic officials who have an impossible decision to make. No one ever would have expected this season would be in question a few short months ago due to Covid-19, which makes it more heartbreaking to athletes.

The one question they all want answered is this: did they unknowingly put on their uniforms and give it their all for Carlisle for the last time ever?