Prep athletes reflect on lost season

The Centennial girls lacrosse team put an ending to the 2020 non-season by having social distancing pictures taken of the seniors, coach Gary Nelson said. Front (from left): Hailey Herzig, Kennedy Grant. Middle: Layne Hofmann, Jenna Popp, Gabbi Buttweiler, Abby Willenbring. Back: Captain Jillian Neudahl, Coach Gary Nelson, Captain Carly Huntington, Coach Kurt Brouillet, Captain Justine Case. The girls also voted for next year’s captains, Sabra Brouillet, Neila Haney, and Zoe Schneider.

The Quad Community Press invited local athletes by email through their coaches to comment on the unprecedented loss of an entire season due to the pandemic along with what they did while still hoping to compete, and how they handled distance learning. Here are some reactions:

Justine Case, senior lacrosse goalie, said, “I was super torn up about it when I heard my season was canceled. I really miss my teammates and goofing off with them during practice. I would’ve even been happy with a shortened season. I really wanted to play my senior year and have a great season to end on.”

Case did some running, practiced in her backyard, and got together with a few teammates to scrimmage in the park.

“I wanted to take sections and go on to state with my team in my senior year," she said. "All of us were so excited for this season and had done a ton of training to get ready for it.”

Case said distance learning was problematic for her. “It was easy to procrastinate the homework, I was not prepared for online learning whatsoever. Learning material on a screen versus in a classroom was way harder than I expected.”

Jack Simso, the Cougar tennis team’s No. 1 singles player and second-year captain, said, “I missed playing tennis and I had hoped to play doubles in sections with my younger brother. I was hoping that it (the season) would resume.”

He ran and worked out to stay in shape.

“We expected to have a very strong team and compete for a conference championship,” Simso said.  “We only lost one varsity player from last year.”

About school at home, he groused, “I didn’t like distance learning at all.”

Jack Hoglund, track and field captain, lamented, “I was absolutely devastated about losing my senior season. I have been working towards this year since I was a sixth grader trying out track for the first time, and to see it all end like this had me at a loss for words and emotions.”

A pole vaulter and hurdler, Hoglund missed the “mix” of every meet of competing hard and cheering friends on. “It just was the most fun I ever had, and I would give anything to experience it just one more time.” He was hoping to reach state in pole vault after missing by just one place last year.

He held out hope that the last few meets would be held and was working out with teammates until the final word came. “It also kept us in a good mood and spirits high just to be working out together one last time,” he said.

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