“This is the first spring without sports for many of these athletes and they are confused with all this free time. Adding in the fact that this is the nicest spring weather we’ve seen and we can’t enjoy it as a team,” said Oyster River girls lacrosse head coach, Erin Murphy-Putnman in response to the cancellation of the spring sport seasons.
On Thursday, April 16th governor Chris Sununu announced that students and teachers across the state would be continuing with remote learning for the rest of the school year. On Friday April 17th, NHIAA sealed the deal when they sent out a statement explaining that all spring sport activities were officially cancelled. Due to this cancellation, spring sport athletes are struggling to keep up their training without their teams and are grieving the loss of their high school seasons.
“I have been doing drills on my own that our coach has sent out, but without being able to go to a tennis court and actually play it’s been very difficult,” said tennis player Vivian Keegan (‘21). Most spring sport teams have continued to keep in touch with their coaches and teams. Coaches of all sports have posted workout videos for their athletes to follow in order to keep the rust away.
Tennis player Jack Caldicott (‘22) explained, “Our coach will email us a few times a week about where we could play outdoors or indoors, and what courts are still open.”
Like Caldicott, baseball catcher Jacob Fradillada (‘20) explained how he has continued to keep up with his training. “I’ve been hitting off a tee, throwing whenever the weather is nice, and done body weight exercises. I’m just trying not to lose the progress I made over the last two months during winter workouts.”
Like Fradillada, softball player Jadyn Cunningham has been keeping up her training whenever possible. “I have been continuing my softball training at least every other day, however it’s hard since the weather is so hit or miss.” This would have been Fradillada and Cunninghams’ last season with the bobcats as they move on to college next year. Both of which have had a hard time coping with the fact that their last seasons are over. “I was looking forward to really enjoying my final season as a bobcat. I am upset that I’m not able to make lasting memories and truly play my last season the best that I can be. Being the best leader I can be and the best teammate that I can be,” said Cunningham. Cunningham will have the opportunity to play softball for four more years at Southern Maine University, however for Fradillada and other spring sport seniors they are missing out on their last chance to play their spring sport.
Despite the greater loss for all spring sport seniors, for juniors and sophomores, this season would have been their chance to reach out and get recruited by college coaches. Murphy-Putnam explained, “many of our sophomores and juniors were looking at this being the season to ramp up their communication with college coaches. That is much more difficult now that they cannot send game tape or send a schedule to be scouted.”
One of the juniors Murphy-Putnam is referring to is Ari Alcoccer. Not only was Alcoccer looking forward to communicating with college coaches, she was also excited for this season as she was named captain. “It’s my junior year and I got to be named one of the captains so I was pretty thrilled for this season so when this quarantine was extended, it pained me to know that after working hard during those Sunday nights in the winter and getting closer with my teammates [the season] was snatched from me by the coronavirus,” said Alcoccer.
All spring sport athletes are feeling Alcoccer’s pain right now as spring continues to go on without sports. This loss is especially hard for the boys outdoor track team. After the boys indoor track team won the state championship this winter, a few of the boys were set to go to nationals in New York. Unfortunately like other winter sports championships, the meet was cancelled. Owen Fleischer (‘21) was one of the four runners set to go to the national meet, and was disappointed when the news broke that the meet was cancelled. Fleischer says after the cancellation of the national meet the team was still training daily for their spring outdoor track seasons. “We were continuing our training on our own because there was still a possibility of an outdoor season,” said Fleischer. Now that the outdoor season has been cancelled runners are training for the upcoming fall cross country season.
For the girls and boys who run long distance it isn’t hard to keep up with their training as they are still able to go on runs and track their millage. However, a big aspect of outdoor track and field is the team dynamic which has been taken away this season. The team has been doing team meeting calls, posting workouts on facebook and emailing to keep in touch through this time. “Our coaches have been posting regularly on our team Facebook page, and we’ve had Teams meetings as well,” said long distance runner Sophie Sullivan (‘21).
The loss of this year’s 2020 spring sport season has left athletes at ORHS confused and appreciative of their sports. With the cancellations, most spring athletes aren’t putting their progress made in the winter to rest as they continue to get outside when possible and hit off a tee, go for a run, play pass, workout, rally at open courts, and work on their fundamentals.