High school athletes look forward to their senior season, when they will have the opportunity to lead their teams, participate in milestones and achieve goals they have worked hard for throughout high school.
Unfortunately, athletes from the class of 2020 lost all hope of a senior season on April 20 when OHSAA officially cancelled the spring season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Beachwood’s most accomplished spring sport in recent years has been the girls track team. Senior Maddie Alexander, who had already been part of many state championship teams, was ready to shine this season.
“[I am] heartbroken,” she said. “Coming off of my first individual state championship [for indoor track], I was so ready for the season.”
“My biggest goal all four years was to win outdoor states individually,” she added. “It was finally time for me to do it, and it was taken from me.”
Alexander feels as though the coronavirus quarantine has robbed her of everything she worked for throughout high school.
“I am devastated,” she said. “The team bonding, the success, the loss, the hard work I’ve put in every day is all down the drain.”
Senior Spencer Sharp also feels heartbroken about the abrupt end to his baseball season. Sharp has been playing baseball for 14 years, and his senior season meant a lot to him.
“I’m missing out on playing the game I love with some of my best friends,” he said. “Playing for my school and just having my family watch me play one last time was very important to me.”
“Not being able to play with my teammates [during] my last year of Beachwood baseball is what hurts the most,” he added.
Senior Sophie Karl has been playing lacrosse since her freshman year, and her feelings resonate with those of other senior athletes.
“I’m very upset that lacrosse got cancelled because I love playing with my friends,” she said.”It’s also my senior year, and I really wanted to experience senior night.”
“I watched three groups of seniors have their senior night at the end of each season, and this was finally going to be my chance,” she added.
Senior Miranda Luxenburg misses the camaraderie of traveling with the team.
“I will miss the bus rides and singing after or before all of the games,” she said. “It would have been just genuinely fun and exciting.”
Luxenburg had high hopes for the season.
“The teams in our conference were changed this year, and we actually had a good chance of doing really well,” she said. “We were looking forward to a great season and maybe even a conference title.”
Luxenberg hopes to do intramurals in college so she doesn’t lose contact with the sport.
Carly Petti reflected on what she will miss during her senior season of softball.
“I will miss everything,” she said. “I love everything about the sport and our team. Win or lose, I will miss it all.”
Petti also reflected on her favorite softball tradition.
“Every year at our Fairport double header we have a cookout with the other teams after the games,” she said. “Playing Orange is always a fun rivalry game that I look forward to.”
Petti also reflected on how she had prepared over the offseason.
“I worked really hard at improving,” she said. “I went to the batting cages, I did fielding drills and strength training. I was not only looking forward to seeing how much our team would have improved, but myself as well.”
Max Steiger is also disappointed to have missed out on his tennis season.
“I trained a lot this offseason and improved my game, but I never got the chance to put my hours of practice into play,” he wrote in an email.
“I’m glad to have played three fun seasons, but it definitely hurts to not have one final go,” he added.
Steiger feels that this would have been a great year for Bison tennis.
“There was a lot of talent on the varsity team, and some JV players could have gotten some quality games in,” he wrote. “This would have been a great season for a run at the State competition.”
Beachwood Athletic Director Ryan Peters offered some advice for athletes who are missing their senior season.
“Be proud of everything that you have accomplished and everything that you have become, because Beachwood is proud of you,” he wrote in an email. “During this time of the pandemic, you have learned some very valuable lessons that will make you much stronger as you enter the next phases of your life.”
“I realize that this season was not what anyone had hoped for, but you are committed leaders with strong morals and values, and your passion for Bison Athletics will never be forgotten,” he added.
Peters also shared some things that the athletic department is doing to honor senior athletes who are missing their final season.
On April 20, at 8:20 p.m. Beachwood participated in Light up the Stadium, a statewide initiative of the OHSAA.
Stadium lights were turned on and supporters of the class of 2020 came to the parking lot where they honked their horns and turned on their headlights. Residents were also encouraged to turn on their porch lights for 20 minutes and 20 seconds.
Additionally, the athletic department will host a virtual senior day for senior athletes and hang senior banners on the high school building next to the field.
The boosters have purchased shirts for every senior honoring the class of 2020 and additional shirts for every spring athlete. The Boosters will also conduct a virtual sports awards celebration virtually in mid-May.
These seniors hope that underclassmen will appreciate the time they still have to play their sports in high school.
“Don’t take it for granted,” Alexander said. “Realize that your senior friends lost something important to them and you [will still] get to experience it.”
“Be grateful and take in every second of it, because it can be gone instantly,” she added.