Virus Threatens Seniors’ Final Sport

Staff Writer

For Allison Jacobs, she won’t get one last shot to get her relay team back to regionals after working so hard in the offseason for that very moment.

For Dylan Dysert, he won’t have the chance to show off his leadership skills as one of a number of seniors on the St. Marys boys track and field team.

For Maddy Jones, she won’t get another chance to man first base and be that leader she has grown up to become and Trey Fisher won’t get another chance to play the game he loves more than any sport he has played throughout his high school career.

For these seniors and others in 202, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is robbing them of the joy to play and compete in their final high school sport.

“This is extra tough because my last track season is on pause,” Jacobs said. “Not only have I been training for a couple of months now, but so have a lot of my senior teammates and I could tell this season with all the determination we had, we were going to do some damage. “However, now I may not be able to complete my senior year and it is definitely making me think how easily I took my junior year for granted. I have been looking forward to this season forever now and with the inspirational coaches I have and the great teammates I can’t imagine not being able to finish my final track career without them cheering me on for just one more race.”

Last week, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced that winter sports state tournaments were postponed indefinitely and spring sports were going to be delayed. Later in the week, the OHSAA planned a tentative date of April 11 for spring sports to begin with spring sports tournaments dates remaining the same. 

Then to add insult to injury, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on the same day that all schools, kindergarten to 12th grade in the state of Ohio will be closed for three weeks through April 3 and senior students’ concerns grew more over the weekend when DeWine said there was a possibility schools would be closed for the rest of the school year — a comment he made on “Meet the Press” on Sunday. Then during DeWine’s daily press conference on Wednesday, he said there was a good chance school would have to be closed past three weeks and there is still a possibility that schools will be closed longer, but did add that classes could also run throughout the summer.

“With what’s been going on, it definitely has been a struggle,” Dysert said. “For me, I run track and this year I knew it was going to be my year. I wanted to prove what I can actually do and wanted to be a leader to the underclassmen, and for me being a senior, it’s definitely hard knowing that my last track season could be ruined. 

“In my last few months left of school, I was looking forward to meeting new people.”

Dysert added he thought the coronavirus would be a small issue and be handled easily, but he did agree to an extent with the measure the governor and the OHSAA have taken over the course of the last three weeks.

Last season, Jacobs was a part of a 4x100-meter relay team that placed runner-up at the Western Buckeye League Championship and that same quartet, which features fellow seniors Jordan Egbert and Rebecca Dominguez, qualified for regionals and missed the cut to advance to day two of the tournament by 0.29. The 4x200 team that Jacobs was also a part of advanced to regionals and missed qualifying for day two by .70 seconds. 

Jacobs, who also runs in the 400-meter dash, was preparing to take herself and the quartet farther this season after training in Columbus throughout the offseason and during the school closure.

“Track has always been my favorite sport and now that there is a possibility of it being ripped away from seniors, leaves such a devastating feeling,” she said. “With this being the very last sport of my high school career I hope and pray this all will calm down and I can be back on the track, lacing up my spikes and ready to once again compete with my teammates. My hope is that for the next three weeks everyone keeps training the best they can and that we can return ready to perform with the high standards we had for this coming season.”

Softball has played a major role for Jones. 

She said she loves the friendships she has been able to make throughout her years. Jones has played softball throughout her high school career, playing first base for three years — a starter for two years come this spring.

“Usually when you are on that varsity team, you are with those same girls through the whole time,” Jones said. “Once that senior class last year graduated, now I am that senior, I am that leader to guide everyone else.

“Now I can take that role as a leader and show everybody how to the game and win games to be an overall solid and good team.”

Jones has been with coach Kendra Solomon all four years. Solomon has slowly gotten the program better, garnering six wins last season — the most victories in a season for the program since winning 10 in 2011 — and in many ways, 202 was going to be a big year for the program.

“We’re definitely working and building,” Jones added. “Even last year, we had more wins and we had the previous year. It’s small steps but it’s getting there and I think that this year we’re going to have a good, solid team. We have a few freshmen coming up that are going be real solid players and honestly just can’t wait to see how that season plays out.”

“I do have hope that we are going to exceed our wins and what we usually do and I’m very confident in that and I just think overall for all of us, we’ve built a better relationship with our coach with just everybody in general and I think that we’re going to be all about the closest team this year, then we have been in years past.”

Fisher loves baseball. 

The All-WBL defensive end on the Roughriders football said he likes football, but loves basketball and was looking forward to another crack at it with the bat. 

“I’m really pumped,” Fisher said before all the coronavirus scare reached Ohio. “I love baseball so much because it is America’s pastime. I have grown up as a baseball player.

“It’s a chill sport, the coaches let you do what you need to do to get better and it’s a mental game — and that makes it a tough sport. You can’t turn just anybody into a baseball player, you’ve got to know the mental part of it and that’s why I like it so much.”

Even senior Mason King said he was looking forward to the upcoming tennis season with first-year coach Nick Page, but now that is all in question. 

On Thursday, the OHSAA said that cancellation of season is still on the table and Wright State University — Lake Campus baseball team canceled its 11-game old season on Monday.

“I don’t think it has officially hit me that we are off for three weeks and it does make me upset that I will not see my friends as much as I would at school,” Jacobs said. “School was always fun for me to go to. All my classes were filled with my friends and just not being able to joke around and laugh with them just again is a horrible feeling, especially with only having two months left of high school. After this everyone goes their separate ways.

“Just that I hope everyone knows they are not in this alone and it is hard for all seniors. I am just trying to stay positive along with my friends and hope that I get the chance to end my high school career with one last prom, one last track season, and with graduation, we have all been waiting for.”