With a heavy heart, President Beebe announced that the rest of the school year will be completed online, from the safety of the homes of students. However, for spring athletes (especially seniors), his next announcement was even more devastating: all athletic events were cancelled, bringing their seasons to an abrupt end.
Despite the upsetting news, the athletes and coaches all understood that this was the best and safest way for the school to deal with such an unknown opponent, COVID-19. On top of this, each team member and coach expressed their feelings about the effects this virus has had on the season.
Track head coach Russell Smelley wrote to his seniors a thoughtful thank you: “You have led by example. You have known wonderful results and some bitter disappointments. You have added to the legacy of the Warrior Track & Field program … You are an accomplished and storied Senior class.”
Jordan Gunderson, a sophomore on the team, said, “It’s crazy how so much can change in so little time. It seemed like it wasn’t a threat at all before spring break and now essentially all sports across the country have been cancelled … It’s some really tough news but it’s for the best. This goes beyond sports and is about the health and safety of all of us. The NAIA had our best interest in mind when they came to this decision. It’s unfortunate, but life will go on.”
The track team had only just begun and hadn’t even started their outdoor season.
Keili Butler, a freshman, agreed with Gunderson and said, “Track season just began recently and it’s been such an amazing experience competing in the few meets that we did. I am especially sad for the seniors because they had their last collegiate meet without even knowing it until now … ”
For men’s tennis, coach Mark Basham sympathizes with as well as commends the seniors on his team, despite only playing for a little less than half their full season.
“I also feel very sad for our one senior and captain of the team Ryan Chung as I wish his season would not have been cut short. With that said, it did make all of us really happy to see Ryan win his last two matches in singles as a Warrior, and I know Ryan was really happy about his victories as well.”
Finally, the men’s baseball team had a handful of games left to play to finish the season. Paul Mezurashi was saddened by the abrupt news; however, he was grateful for the deep bond he created with all the men on the team. “My heart hurts for the seniors — they’re all great guys and really shaped us all into great men and really good dudes. Just to think about the memories that we could have made kills me. We had a really good group of guys and I would’ve picked anyone of them to go to war with.”
We commend the athletes and coaches for staying strong, being selfless, and ultimately understanding the severity of COVID-19.