The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the world to adopt to new lifestyles. Staying at home, social distancing, and wearing masks seems to be the new normal around the world. Unfortunately, many events have been postponed/cancelled due to this virus. It has interfered with the 2020 Summer Olympics, the 2020 MLB season, concerts, festivals, and much more. Schools have been closed, causing spring sports to be cancelled. For many high school student athletes, it has caused possible complications in being scouted by dream colleges. Many juniors worry that their future may be altered due to the cancellation of spring sports. Others are just highly disappointed in not being able to participate in the sport that they love.
One of these student athletes is junior, Celeste Orchard. Celeste is a member of the Western Wayne Varsity Track & Field Team. She throws and can be found in the shot put and discus events. Additionally, she can be occasionally found in the javelin event.
“I was extremely disappointed considering all the work and practice that was done through the fall and winter. I was looking forward to my junior season with big goals in discus and new confidence in the sport,” she said.
“I realized everything happens for a reason and this is an opportunity to come out in my senior season with a bang and large improvement since the last time I competed,” she added.
When asked about possible complications in being scouted due to the cancellation, Celeste explained that she tracks for her own enjoyment. “Throwing in college isn’t my biggest priority,” she said.
Celeste has still been staying active during this time and continues to work out at home. “Track sends out workouts and YouTube videos to help maintain strength and fine-tune technique. In addition, I have continued lifting in my home gym.,” she explained.
Celeste looks forward to next season and what it will bring for her as well as her teammates. “The season off sets a clean slate for next year. The personal bests are wiped clean and it’s almost like new competition. Next year will show who took advantage of the year off and who didn’t. I look forward to next season to see how my team improves in comparison to others.”
Another athlete who is also a member of the Western Wayne Varsity Track & Field Team is junior, Haley Estus. Haley is a distance runner on the team. “When I first heard spring sports were cancelled, I was very disappointed. I truly love track and could not wait for the season to begin,” she said. Haley plays a key role on the team and qualified for districts her freshman and sophomore year. She worries that this pandemic may majorly impact scouting by colleges.
“This will impact being scouted because your junior year is the year colleges really look at you. By the time track season comes to an end, most seniors have already decided where they are going to college, therefore they could only get scouted/get scholarship offers from the school they are going to. This affects scholarships juniors could have been offered next year because each year you improve more and more.”
Haley added, “Now we are missing out on a year of improvement, so I worry about how that’s going to affect my times next year. Am I going to run as fast as I would have if we had a track season this year?”
As a distance runner, Haley has continued to put the time, miles, and workouts in to stay in shape.
“When school was first cancelled, I ran four miles almost every day along with doing core exercises. I knew that I had to keep myself in good shape if we returned to finish out the track season. Now that the season is cancelled, I have continued running, but only about four times a week along with core,” she explained.
Haley has thought about her senior track season and where she should be this time next year.
“Next track season I am going to have to train exceptionally hard to reach my full potential due to the lost season. Running distance is all in your head. When you’re on lap six of eight in the two mile and you’re in pain and your legs are starting to feel like Jell-O, and you just want to give up already or slow down a little, [but] you can’t.”
Haley continues to have a motivated mindset and challenges herself.
“Now I’m going to have to push myself harder during those races or even workouts, which is going to be more challenging both mentally and physically,” she said.
From a different perspective, Tim Smith is a member of the Western Wayne Varsity Baseball Team. He is also a junior in high school. Tim was looking forward to this upcoming season.
“When I heard that the spring sports season was cancelled due to the corona virus, I was devastated. I felt like all the hard work that I put in during the off season was all for nothing and I had zero control over that which hurt even more,” he said. Tim wants to play baseball in college and strives to pursue this goal.
“This hurts me in scouting in a lot of different ways. I missed out on a whole season which might make colleges look over me because I didn’t have as much varsity time as an underclassman,” he explained.
He added, “This is very disappointing, and I will have to work much harder in the off season in order to achieve my goals that I had set.”
Like many athletes during this time, Tim has also been staying in shape with workouts at home.
“I have been working out every day and doing other activities to stay in shape and peak physical form,” he explained. Tim shares words of encouragement for other student athletes during this time. “Even though the season has ended, it doesn’t mean you should stop pursuing your dreams.”
Tim even has gained a lesson out of these changing times and shares this philosophy: “This motivates me for next year by teaching me to never take anything for granted and that it can be taken away in heartbeat, so you have to make the most of it while you have it and that’s what I’m going to start to do in everything I pursue.”
It is very clear that these hardworking student-athlete juniors of Western Wayne are disappointed in their season being cancelled but continue to work hard to make their next season very special and to make up for being unable to compete this season. For some, being scouted by colleges and possibly receiving scholarships motivates them, while others pure love and enjoyment of their sport motivates them to continue working on their skills. They continue to be motivated and set goals for their upcoming senior season, despite these unprecedented times. They demonstrate their positivity and pride in being a Western Wayne Wildcat and have not given up on their goals and dreams.