Spring athletes’ sports seasons started and came to an end faster than anyone would have anticipated.
Championships and entire seasons have been canceled for the spring quarter of 2020.
According to Duncan Stevenson, Pierce College’s director of district athletics, the college’s baseball and softball teams have been the most directly impacted. The college’s student-athletes were three weeks into their preseason schedule when the shutdown occurred.
“It’s been the craziest six weeks of my life,” said Stevenson. “The first two weeks (starting on March 5) were complete chaos, as we started to feel the initial impact of COVID-19. The Northwest Athletic Conference suspended the basketball championship tournament on March 5, being hosted at Everett Community College. On March 13, the NWAC canceled all spring sports for 2020. Sadly, this put the end to competition and practice activities for over 45 of our student-athletes.”
All spring sports in the NWAC, as well as other intercollegiate associations across the country, have been canceled. The NWAC and all other associations have adopted a policy of eligibility relief for spring sports student-athletes, meaning they won’t be charged with a season of used eligibility. For Pierce, this means sophomore student-athletes have been offered the opportunity to replay this season.
According to Pierce College softball player Peyton Wallen, her sophomore teammates were in tears after their last preseason game.
“They knew it was going to be their last game this year,” said Wallen. “Of course they get another year of eligibility, but it’s so hard to continue to go to school at Pierce when they are all ready to transfer to a four-year (university).”
Running Start student Paidon Froemke is a track athlete for White River High School. Being that track and field is a spring sport, her season has also been canceled.
“The past couple of months have seemed so unreal,” Froemke stated. “Since I’m a senior in high school, I don’t get to have my senior track season. I won’t get to have a senior night, prom was canceled and graduation for my high school is still up in the air.”
The cancellation has also affected Froemke’s ability to qualify for certain colleges, as she won’t get the opportunity to compete this season.
Stevenson explained that the NWAC has been providing regular updates to athletic department personnel across the conference. This information is then shared with student-athletes by their coaches, often through Zoom.
So far, there’s been little financial impact on the athletic program. The funds that had been awarded to cover the costs of the remaining travel schedule and home event management will be returned to the District Services and Activities Fund Balance.
The athletic department is currently looking ahead and preparing for the 2020-21 academic and athletic year, though a delayed start to fall sports seasons is possible. The NWAC is said to be developing backup plans for all possibilities.
“From what I have seen and heard, our student-athletes are adjusting to the new world around them,” said Stevenson. “They are extremely resilient. And, as student-athletes, they are used to dealing with adversity and have the skills to be flexible and adjust rapidly to changing circumstances. I’m really proud of all of them.”
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